Fungal infections, injuries, and other nail conditions can damage your toenails and make you avoid open-toed shoes to hide the thick, darkened nails. Franklin Harry, DPM, ABMSP, and Tim Davydov, DPM, ABPM, of Best Foot Forward in Festus and St. Louis, Missouri, want to get you back into your sandals by fixing your toenail problem and cosmetically restoring your damaged toenails. Call Best Foot Forward today or schedule an appointment online to learn more about treating toenail problems.
Toenails are made of the protein keratin, a tough, resilient substance. Toenails help protect your toes, but heat, moisture, and friction from your shoes can cause toenail problems. Discoloration, itching, redness, and pain are some of the signs of common toenail problems, including:
Nail fungal infections affect about 10% of people, with half over 70 developing nail fungus. It often starts with a white or yellow spot under the tip of your toenail, and as it spreads deeper into the nail, the nail discolors and thickens.
Fungal infections can cause the toenails to become jagged around the edges and crumble. Like any infection, it can spread, often affecting the surrounding skin or your other toenails. Because it’s contagious, nail fungal infections can be caused by walking barefoot where someone else with a fungal infection has walked, like a locker room.
People who work in wet conditions where their feet remain wet for extended periods are at higher risk of developing toenail infections, just as are people with diabetes.
Ingrown toenails are painful and common, caused when the corner or side of your toenail grows into the surrounding skin. Ingrown toenails are caused by cutting toenails too short or on a curve instead of straight across. A toenail can become ingrown after an injury.
Toenails can be injured in several common ways, including:
Running, ballet dancing, and other physical activities can cause toenail injuries too. An injured toenail collects blood under the nail. Or the nail can become partially separated or come entirely off your toe.
Not all toenail problems can be prevented. For example, an injury caused by stubbing your toe or dropping something on your foot can’t always be avoided.
You can help prevent toenail fungus by wearing shoes in areas where others walk barefoot, especially wet areas like locker rooms and public pool dressing areas. To help prevent ingrown toenails, trim your toenails in a straight line, rather than curving them around the shape of your toe.
If your prevention efforts fail, you can call Best Foot Forward or schedule an appointment online to receive treatment for your toenail problems.
How particular toenail problems are treated depends on what’s causing the problem. Fungal nail infections usually require antifungal prescriptions and sometimes removal of the nail. Ingrown toenails sometimes require lifting the nail or removing it, depending on how severe your symptoms are.
Toenail injury treatment can include medication or surgery, depending on how severe the trauma is.
See your doctor right away for any signs of infection, like pain, redness, or pus drainage.
Best Foot Forward can help restore the cosmetic appearance of damaged nails. You can treat your new toenail the same as your other nails, too, including applying nail polish if you want.
Call Best Foot Forward or schedule an appointment online to restore your toenails after an infection, ingrown toenail, or injury.