Posts for category: common foot conditions, nail problems
A common, yet often untreated foot condition are fungal toenails. Fungal nail infections (also known as onychomycosis) are often painless and can go unrecognized for a long time. The biggest symptom of a fungal toenail is a change in the nail’s color to a yellowish-brown or dark color. If you have a fungal toenail infection, you may also notice your nail getting thick and brittle and even crumbling around the edges.
Who is Prone to Toenail Infections?
A group of fungi known as dermophytes, which devour keratin, the protein in nails, are the cause of fungal toenails. People who suffer chronic disease, especially those that compromise the immune or circulatory systems, such as diabetes, have an increased likelihood of getting a fungal infection. Any injury to the nail bed can also be an entry point for the fungi. People who perspire excessively or have chronic Athlete’s Foot are also at a higher risk for fungal toenail infections.
Many people put off medical treatment for fungal toenails because they are not causing any pain or discomfort. Left untreated, however, fungal toenails can lead to complications. A secondary bacterial or yeast infection often accompanies a fungal infection, which can cause debris to collect under the nail plate and pain when running or walking if it progresses too far.
At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, we believe in being proactive in your foot care. If you notice symptoms of a fungal toenail infection, don’t wait until it’s painful. Contact our Reading office for an appointment with one of our podiatrists, Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond. We offer a new laser procedure that clears nail infections quickly and comfortably. Other treatment options include: topical and oral medications, debridement, and, in severe cases, partial nail removal.
If you have a fungal toenail, make an appointment by calling: (781) 944-4044 and stop fungal nails before they become a serious medical issue.
This is a question that we frequently hear at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists. The answer is yes and no. An ingrown toenail is one that has started growing down and into the skin that surrounds the nail. There are several possible causes of ingrown toenails:
- Improper cutting: If toenails are cut too short or with rounded edges, the skin will be more prone to fold over the nail and cause it to start to grow into the skin.
- Heredity: For some people, the tendency to ingrown toenails is genetic.
- Footwear choices: Wearing shoes and socks that are too tight in the toe area can squeeze and put pressure on the toenail, causing it to start to grow inward
- Trauma: A heavy object falling on a toe or another injury can eventually lead to an ingrown toenail.
- Nail Conditions: Some nail disorders, such as fungal nails can also increase the likelihood of an ingrown toenail.
The most common of all these causes is improper toenail cutting, which is something you can avoid. Similarly, you can pick footwear that doesn’t cramp your toes. These are a few steps you can take to prevent ingrown toenails.
Treatment of Ingrown Toenails
In some cases, ingrown toenails will go away on their own. Soaking the affected foot in warm, soapy water several times a day may help the nail to get free of the skin. Do not attempt any “bathroom surgeries,” however. If soaking does not seem to help, and especially if you notice drainage from the toe or other signs of infection, make an appointment at our Reading office as soon as possible. One of our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond will want to examine your toe and determine the best way to rid you of the ingrown nail. In severe cases, a minor surgical procedure can be done to remove part of the nail.