Observing a change in the health and look of your toenails can be alarming. Depending on the nature of the problem, it may even cause pain and embarrassment. Since they are often hidden inside socks and shoes, feet and toes are sometimes not given much thought until a symptom or discomfort is noticed. That’s why many toenail conditions go untreated until they have progressed too far. The health of your toenails can also provide clues to the presence of certain underlying conditions. For these reasons, we encourage you to have any change in your toenails diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
Common Toenail Concerns
Problems with toenails are quite common and most do not leave you with permanent damage. There are some conditions, however, that can lead to significant consequences if left untreated for an extended period of time. This is especially true for a person with diabetes, or any other health condition that compromises the immune system. Your toenails can suffer from infections and traumatic injuries, but regardless of the symptoms, any problem or change should be treated promptly before it develops into a serious issue. Some of the more common toenail conditions include the following:
Red or black coloring typically indicates that your toes have sustained some sort of trauma or injury. If you were to jam your foot during sports, stub it on the corner of a table leg, or drop something heavy on your toe, the area underneath the nail can bruise or bleed. The discoloration is the result of blood pooling under the nail. It is often more unsightly than painful but if enough blood collects under the nail, the pressure can be quite uncomfortable. In more rare cases, black toenails can stem from certain fungal infections or melanoma.
Microscopic fungi that live in warm, moist environments can take hold and live underneath your nail. When they grow and fester they cause the nail to become discolored, brittle and thick. If an infection goes untreated, the nail can change shape, develop a foul odor, and the fungus can spread to other nails and surrounding skin. This toenail problem can be resistant to treatment and a new, healthy nail can take months to grow back out. It is essential to address this type of infection as soon as symptoms appear, which can be as simple as a small white spot on your nail. Whether you are at the beginning stages or are dealing with a significant infection, we can provide a variety of effective treatment options. It is also important to note here that yellow toenails can be indicative of a variety of serious health concerns as well, such as chronic swelling, diabetes, and liver, kidney, heart, and lung conditions. Do not delay in getting any toenail discoloration diagnosed.
If a nail is ingrown it means that it has curved downward and is growing into the surrounding skin. When a nail grows incorrectly like this, it can pinch the skin and cause redness, inflammation, swelling, and even infection. The toe can become very tender if left untreated and it can eventually make it difficult to walk or wear shoes comfortably. Risk factors for this condition include cutting your nails too short or curved, an injury, and wearing shoes that squeeze your toes. We can provide some easy home methods to ease discomfort if the ingrown nail is minor, but if you have significant toenail pain, an infection, or a recurring ingrown nail problem, we may have to surgically take care of the nail.
Quick and Effective Treatment
If you are living with toenail pain, don’t ignore the problem. We have a variety of safe, conservative treatment methods that will restore the health of your toes and get you back to loving your feet again. Contact Richardson Podiatry Associates today. To make an appointment with Dr. Gene Reister, call our office in Richardson, TX at (972) 690-5374.