Just as people do, toenails come in all shapes and sizes. At the extremity of our feet, they can take some real punishment, and when things go wrong, they can cause all sorts of pain and or trouble for us. Podiatrists are specialists when it comes to anything “toenails” and treatments are routine for most issues.
Because nails are continuously growing, they change throughout our lives. Preventative care is the best treatment, but often it is not enough. Some of the more common issues, include fungal nail infections (Onychomycosis) , ingrown toenails (Onychocryptosis) deformed or damaged growth patterns. In some extreme cases, issues may be best resolved with surgical nail removal which can be done by a podiatrist using a local anaesthetic
There may be many reasons why toenails can be difficult to maintain. Frequently when we age, or for other reasons, mobility can be the issue. It may just be a case of not being able to comfortably reach to cut and file our own nails. Other times, certain nail conditions, such as thickening, may make the job more difficult than usual.
Most of us keep our feet in moist and dark conditions throughout the day, It can be helpful to give our nails and feet a good “airing” whenever possible, such as at the end of the day. It is important to remember though, our feet are just as susceptible to sun related cancers, such as melanoma, so avoid unprotected exposure to direct sunlight, as you would the rest of your skin. The legendary reggae singer Bob Marley actually died from a cancer which first presented as a dark mark under his toenail, its more common than you might think! Podiatrists are by no means cancer experts, but frequently advise clients to seek specialist advise when we see something suspicious. If you do have a mark you are concerned about, you should immediately bring this to the attention of your GP.
Fungal nail issues are very common, but can be persistent and difficult to treat. Many people have good success, treating themselves at home with tea tree oil, which contains natural antifungal properties. While this can be effective in some cases, podiatrists have a range of other options for more persistent and advanced cases. If fungal nail is a persistent problem, re-infection can be an issue. Make sure you dry your feet properly and air them every time after washing. Make sure you keep the treatment up as regularly and for as long as recommended (this can be well beyond the period of visibility). Make sure that your socks are washed thoroughly every use. It may be those comfy old shoes, so it might be time for some new ones. Be vigilant and re-treat at the first sign of recurrence.
If you need help with unsightly, painful, or persistent nail issues, or just need help with standard maintenance, book a treatment or contact us here at Bull Creek Podiatry