Have you got an ingrown toe nail? A fungal toe nail? Hot foot it to a podiatrist. They’re feet specialists and the experts to treat any toe nail troubles.
Avoid over the counter treatments. Pitted, curling, thickened, discoloured or infected toe nails are an early warning system for disease like anaemia or psoriasis. An infected nail can be serious, and can even spread to the bone so don’t drag your feet! If you’ve got diabetes, circulation disorders or vascular disease, it’s even more important to see a podiatrist as an ingrown toenail can be an indicator of bigger troubles.
If you’ve got toe troubles and nothing’s improved in a week - or it’s getting worse - you need to hot foot it to a podiatrist who can diagnose and promptly treat the problem.
Ingrown toe nail
An ingrown toe nail can be painful. They’re caused when the sides of the nail cut into the skin, leaving your tender toe swollen and sore. Untreated, the skin grows over the nail, causing infection.
It’s a common problem. You might have inherited an ingrown toe nail trait, or you might have cut your nails too short, particularly around the corners. Your shoes might be too small, putting pressure on your nails.
Fortunately it’s an easy, painless fix. Your podiatrist will remove the part that’s ingrown and prescribe medication or antibiotics if needed to treat infection. In serious cases, the ingrown section may be surgically removed, following local anaesthetic. If you’ve got chronic ingrown toe nail trouble, your podiatrist can help too, with a more permanent fix to prevent future problems.
Until your appointment, soaking your feet in warm soapy water can help and avoid tight socks or shoes.
Fungal toe nail
You could have a fungal infection for years without realising. Over time the nail might thicken, loosen, become more brittle or change colour. It looks ugly, but because it often doesn’t hurt, people don’t do anything about it. Left untreated, it can cause serious problems.
Fungus infects under the nail but can also eat into the nail itself. It might darken the nail - or smell. Secondary bacterial or yeast infections often set in and do cause pain. The fungi feed on keratin, the protein in the nail, and the infection can spread across your skin, to other toes, even fingernails.
It might be the result of sweaty feet, athlete’s foot or injury to the nail bed which makes it more susceptible to infection. Diabetics, people with immune-deficiency conditions or circulatory disorders are particularly vulnerable to fungal toe nail.
A podiatrist will correctly diagnose the infection, prescribe appropriate medication and treat the diseased nail. In severe cases, the infected nail might need surgical removal to cure the infection.
- Keeping your feet clean and dry is the easiest way to prevent infection.
- Make sure shoes and socks aren’t too tight
- Wear shoes and socks that breathe and wick moisture away from your feet.
- Clip your nails straight across, shorter than the end of the toe but don’t round the corners.
- Disinfect nail clippers. Don’t paint problem nails.
- Wear shower shoes in public facilities and change your footwear daily.
- Watch your toes! If you notice any changes head straight to your podiatrist.
Be healthy head to toe and make an appointment to see a podiatrist if you have an ingrown nail or you notice any changes to your nails. Don’t leave it too long and risk more serious health problems. The treatment for ingrown and fungal toe nail is effective so treat your sore or ugly toes today.