Toenails: Questions and Answers

 

 

Toenails are a common area of concern. In addition to injury, ingrown nails, and fungus, the podiatrists at Coastal Podiatry Associates are equipped to answer and treat all your nail concerns. Below are a few common questions about toenails.

I just had a pedicure a few days ago and now the skin next to my toenail is red and itchy. Could this be an infection?

These are two likely signs of infection, especially if the nail’s protective cuticle was cut or pushed back during the pedicure. Another cause of these symptoms is an allergic reaction to products used during the pedicure (nail polish, creams, instruments used). If you continue to experience these symptoms, it is best to seek medical treatment.

How do I know if I have toenail fungus?

Toenail fungus is a slow-growing infection underneath the nail. The most common signs of fungal infection are a thickening of the nail, yellow or brown discoloration, change in nail texture, and flaky debris under the nail.

I have been treating my toenail fungus but have yet to see results. Why is this?

Toenail fungus is notoriously hard to cure. Both oral and OTC anti-fungal medications take time to reach the fungus under the nail where it lives. Also, once the medication kills the fungus, it won’t improve the look of the infected nail right away. As the new, healed nail grows out, the thick, discolored nail is trimmed away. It may take 6-9 months for the new nail to grow all the way out.

Ever since dropping a heavy object on my toe, the nail has been thick. If I have the nail removed, will it grow back normal? 

Having a thick or damaged toenail removed will probably not result in a healthier nail. Once the nail matrix (nail growth center) is damaged, it typically will continue to produce an altered nail.

I just exercised in a new pair of shoes. Now, part of my big toenail is turning black and coming loose. What should I do?

The sudden black discoloration is likely due to trauma to the nail bed that causes bleeding beneath the nail. The trauma is normally due to repetitive stress to the nail from a tight gym shoe. If the nail is loose or more than 50% of the nail is black, it is best to visit a podiatrist.

I keep getting ingrown toenails, is this because I am not cutting my nails straight across?

The most common reason people experience recurrent ingrown toenails is due to the shape of the big toe and the underlying bone position. Other factors that increase frequent ingrown nails are ill-fitting shoes. Make sure to keep your toenails at a healthy length and cut the nail with a very slight curve.

 

If you or someone you know is experiencing pain in their feet, the doctors at Coastal Podiatry Associates are available to help. The doctors have received extensive training in all aspects of the foot and can help you return to normal activity. To determine the best course of treatment contact any of our offices at 843-449-FOOT (3668) or visit our website at www.coastalpodiatry.com.

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