Treatment for Toe Nail Conditions
Black Or Darkened Toenails
It’s never a good sign when a body part changes color but it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something very seriously wrong. It is however important to pay attention to the change to rule out any significant problem. Black toenails basically are bruised nails that can come from different problems. When nails turn dark or black, which can come from the toe or toes pressing up against the front of the shoe. In some cases, this bruising can turn into an infection of the toenail (toenail fungus).
Dark Toe Nail Common Causes
There are a number of reasons why your toenail may darken in color; these are some of the most common:
• Trauma or injury – If you crush your toe against a wall or something hard, or you drop something on your foot, your toenail may change color.
• Repeated minor trauma – A small bang on your toenail may not cause any discoloration at first, but if it’s continuously repeated, it can lead to a change in the color of your toenail. An example of this would be when the nail bangs up against the edge of a shoe, a common problem in long distance running especially uphill.
• Poorly fitting footwear – Shoes which are too small or tight can cause pressure on the nail, leading to discoloration.
• Fungal infections – If a fungal infection is not promptly treated it can spread into the nail and cause changes in color. This will not go away on its own so professional treatment is essential. One very rare cause for a change in toenail color is malignant melanoma. This is one of the reasons you should always seek professional advice from a certified Doctor of Podiatry, for any toenails that discolor and don’t quickly resolve.
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Ways to prevent black or dark toenails
— Keeping your toenails trimmed short (and straight across)
— Ensure there’s at least a thumbnail of space between the end of your toe and the top of the shoe
— If you expect to be working with heavy items, choose footwear that has toe protection
— Ensure your nails and feet are kept dry and clean at all times
— Always wear clean socks every day and make sure your shoes are fully dry before use
— Identify any problems with your skin, nails or feet, get it checked out by a professional quickly
How does a podiatrist treat this black or dark toenail condition?
The treatment of a black, dark or discolored toenail will depend on the underlying cause. Some of the treatments that could be offered include:
– Anti-fungal medication and trimming of the nail
– Laser toenail treatment
When the edges or corners of your nails grow into the skin right next to your nail, ingrown toenails occur. Often the big toe is the one that gets this condition. You may notice that your toe is painful and swollen at the edges around the nail, and it may look red too. In more advanced cases of ingrown toenail, you may also notice a yellow discharge.
In-Grown Toe Nail – Common Causes
There are a number of factors which can lead to ingrown toenails such as:
— Incorrect clipping of the nails in a rounded style
— Fungal infections
— Trauma or injury
— Repeated minor trauma
Additionally, wearing high heels or tight shoes, forcing the toes together and putting pressure on the nail can cause darkened toe nails. In some cases there appears to be a genetic factor so if a member of your family has an ingrown toenail, there is a greater chance you may develop one too. This is due to the curve of the bone but is not a certainty and will depend on other contributory factors.
How to prevent ingrown toenails
– Cutting your nails with no corners (straight instead of rounding).
– Buy and wear shoes that are not tight.
– If you work in a tough environment or construction, consider getting steel toe shoes.
– Taking consistent care of your feet and clean them often.
– Don’t cut your toenails too short.
How does a podiatrist treat ingrown toenails?
The treatment for ingrown toenails depends on how early the condition is caught. In the early stages, conservative treatment may be all that’s required to return the toenail to its proper
Your podiatrist may cut your nail in a certain way down the center to encourage growth in a healthy direction. They may also use a small splint.
As the condition progresses, additional treatments may be required such as the removal of any additional tissue which has grown around the ingrown toenail. In cases where an infection is present, the usual treatment is to remove either part or some of the nail, followed by antibiotics.
While an ingrown toenail is being treated, recovery will be far more rapid if high heels are avoided and open-toe sandals can be worn.
A very common infection of the toenail is toenail fungus. Toenail fungus is also known as onychomycosis. Usually people notice that they have toenail fungus when the toenail changes into discolorations of white, yellow or brown.
Toenails may also thicken and become difficult to cut, making it painful to walk or wear shoes. The nail may begin to spontaneously split and if left untreated, the fungus can spread to other nails on the foot.
Fungal Infection Common Causes
Anyone can develop a fungal infection but there are some factors which can make it more likely, these factors include:
— Very sweaty feet
— Shoes that are poorly ventilated
— Tight footwear that cramps the toes
— Working in humid or damp conditions
— Repeated minor injuries to the nail
— Walking barefoot in public in places that are wet or damp, such as pools and showers
Toenail Fungus Prevention Tips
— Never share nail files, clippers, socks or shoes
— Avoid nail trauma wherever possible
— Make sure shoes are dry before wear and choose a style that allows air to circulate around the foot
— At public showers, pools or other watery locations, wear sandals or shoes designed for shower use
— If you suffer from sweaty feet, choose cotton socks and change them several times per day
How does a podiatrist treat toenail fungus?
Treating toenail fungus is particularly problematic as it’s difficult to reach under the toenail where the fungus originates from. You may find many creams and lotions in the market promising to treat toenail fungus but the chances of success are slim. Even if they do work, the process is very long and messy necessitating smelly creams being slathered over your toes for many months, staining socks, bed linen and footwear.
Vittori Foot & Ankle Clinic provides toenail fungus treatment that is rapid and effective. Read more about toenail fungus treatments in Homer Glen & New Lenox, IL here.