How to Identify and Address Your Toenail Problems
The average American adult walks around 6800 steps per day. Despite this, we often forget to care for our feet. Failing to care for your feet and toenails can lead to disorders like ingrown toenails and fungal infections. If you’re dealing with one of these toenail problems, The Foot Doc™ can help.
In this article, we’ll explore how to recognize toenail conditions and diseases, and what to expect when you see a podiatrist for treatment.
An ingrown toenail is a condition cuased by a toenail puncturing and growing into nearby skin. This condition is often associated with significant pain and swelling around the ingrown toenail.
Failing to treat ingrown toenails sometimes leads to infection.
Ingrown Toenail Treatments
Ingrown toenails usually happen due to injury, wearing socks or shoes that are too tight, or sporting long toenails.
A podiatrist or foot specialist will usually recommend switching to more comfortable shoes and socks first. If the ingrown toenail abates, you may not need further treatment.
If your ingrown toenail doesn’t respond to a footwear switch-up, your podiatrist may recommend surgery.
Onychomycosis is the medical term for fungal infections of the nails and toenails. Toenail fungal infections are more common than fingernail onychomycosis.
Most people know they have a fungal infection when the toenail starts turning yellow or brown. Toenails will get thicker and more prone to cracking or crumbling.
A foot specialist can prescribe antifungal medication for mild to moderate onychomycosis. In severe or chronic cases, physicians may recommend removing the infected toenail altogether.
Onychogryphosis is a condition that can impact all toenails but primarily affects the big toe.
This condition occurs when one part of the toenail grows faster than the rest. Another symptom of onychogryphosis is when one part of the nail is thicker than the rest.
If your podiatrist diagnoses you with onychogryphosis, the first step they may take is cut back the overgrown part of the toenail. You may need multiple treatments before the nail starts to grow back normally.
However, keep in mind that the only way to permanently eliminate onychogryphosis is to remove the toenail.
Paronychia is a type of toenail infection. The most common symptoms of acute paronychia include redness, swelling, and pain around the infected area. Paronychia may spread to surrounding toenails and even fingernails.
Podiatrists diagnose people who experience reoccurring infections with chronic paronychia. This condition has the same symptoms of acute paronychia, plus pus under the toenail.
The treatment regimen your physician recommends for paronychia will vary based on the cause. In general, the most common recommendation for this condition is antibiotics or corticosteroids.
In severe or chronic cases, paronychia can require surgery.
See the Foot Doc About Your Toenail Problems
If you think you have one of these toenail problems, it’s time to call your local foot doctor. A podiatrist can treat the issue once and for all. Your physician can also teach you healthy foot care habits to prevent future toenail diseases.
Looking for a foot doctor near you? Request an appointment today to see the Foot Doc, Arizona’s premier foot and ankle specialist.