Your toenails are more than a canvas for color in the summer. They protect the toes by adding a strong layer on top of what is a small but important area of the body. They can also provide a glimpse of what is going on in your body. Some toenail issues can indicate a more systemic issue just beginning. But you don’t have to worry. Read on to learn about common toenail problems and what you can do about them.
A nail growing into the skin of the toe is an ingrown toenail. This most commonly occurs because the nail was allowed to grow too long or rounded off, rather than cut straight across.
Ingrown toenails can be painful and become infected. Common symptoms include:
At home, try soaking your foot in warm, soapy water every day. You can set a small piece of cotton under the nail to help lift it and encourage growth above the skin. Keep your feet clean, take over-the-counter pain medication as needed, and contact your podiatrist if your symptoms are not improving.
Your doctor may recommend a procedure to lift the nail and stabilize it in place until it begins growing above the skin. There are several types of stabilization including placing cotton or a small half-tube piece under the nail. For more severe or recurring cases, podiatrists can remove all or a portion of the nail.
Toenail fungus is another common nail condition. It easily spreads from person to person on surfaces such as locker room floors. Fungus thrives in dark, damp conditions. It grows under your nail, weakening the nail and causing other significant clinical symptoms.
Fungus is not typically painful, but it can cause striking visual changes such as:
- discoloration-white, yellow, brown, or green patches
- brittleness leading to jagged edges and a rough surface
- nail bed weakness (seen in being able to lift the nail up from the toe)
A fungal infection often has a distinctive odor and spreads quickly to other toenails.
If you suspect that you have a toenail fungal infection do not delay. Your doctor will want to start you on antifungal medication. Depending on the severity of your infection you may need the nail removed.
At Best Foot Doctor NY we also offer the PinPointe laser treatment as a very effective treatment option. The heat from the laser kills fungus on the nail without causing damage to surrounding tissue.
A Note About Diabetes
Patients with diabetes are at increased risk for these and other foot maladies. Inspect your feet daily for any changes in color, toenail integrity, and open skin. Due to decreased circulation and weakened nerve sensitivity, you may not feel the pain and discomfort associated with these conditions.
Common Toenail Problems Conclusion
If you notice that you have any of the symptoms described above, get in touch with your local NYC podiatrist. Best Foot Doctor NY has offices in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan for your convenience.
We want to help you keep your toenails healthy so they are ready for your next pedicure!