Many people don't realize that, as podiatrists, we have the opportunity to diagnose and treat not just foot problems, but also systemic illnesses and conditions that also affect other parts of the body. One such condition, which we have seen more frequently in the past few months, is hand, foot and mouth disease.

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HMFD)  is an illness caused by a viral infection. The most common infecting virus is called "Coxsackie Virus." This is a highly contagious virus that is usually transmitted from one person to another by saliva or mucus secretions, especially from coughing or sneezing. It is far more common in children, but adults who have close contact with infected children, such as parents and teachers, can also be affected.

Those who contract hand, foot and mouth disease may experience symptoms such as a low-grade fever and, in general, just not feel well. The inside of the mouth can become quite painful and develop blister-like sores. Blisters can also develop on the hands and feet, usually on the palms and soles, and also on the fingers and toes.

Because the symptoms affect different people in different ways, some may develop foot blisters as the initial or most severe problem. As a result, these people may seek treatment from a podiatrist thinking they have athlete's foot or a similar condition. There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. The body will eventually fight off the virus and the condition will run its course. It's important that the infected person get plenty of rest and drink fluids that don't irritate the mouth. Topical creams can help to decrease tenderness of the palms and soles.

The most important aspect of managing hand, foot and mouth disease is preventing its spread. This is accomplished by frequent hand-washing and avoiding close contact with infected individuals.

At Sol Foot & Ankle Centers, we recommend you seek immediate treatment for any rashes or blisters of the feet, hands and/or mouth. Call (562) 433-0478 to find help for your foot problems.


Richard H. Graves, DPM
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Podiatrist, Sports Medicine Specialist
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Lewis Remington 02/13/2015 03:34 PM
I have not developed any sores in my mouth, but my feet seem to be dealing with them regularly, and I seem to be running a low-fever. Should I go and see a podiatrist or a regular doctor? I don't want to risk this being HMFD.
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Dr. Richard Graves 02/13/2015 06:08 PM
If there are sores on the foot I would definitely start with the podiatrist and be sure to make him aware of all your symptoms. If it turns out to be something that involves more than the feet he can always refer back to a primary doctor or dermatologist.
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