Although they are frequently overlooked and seen as parts of the body that need to be trimmed (or polished) every so often, our toenails play an important role in the health of our feet. They are small, and most of the time they are hidden away in socks or shoes, but they can be the sources of some persistent problems if they are not examined on a regular basis. The following are 3 of the most common issues that arise in our toenails:
1. Ingrown toenails: Ingrown toenails can affect any toe, but they most commonly occur in the big toe. They are caused by abnormal pressure that forces the toenail into the soft surrounding skin, most likely from injuries or improper trimming or footwear. Fortunately, ingrown toenails often grow out on their own, but healing can be assisted with foot soaks, elevation, padding, or a small incision to remove the problem part of the nail.
2. Fungal toenails: Because our feet are frequently trapped inside dark socks that generate a small amount of sweat, they often attract fungi or bacteria that thrive in these conditions. Fungal toenails occur when the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot makes its way to the toenail, causing yellowed, thick, or deformed toenails. It is important to catch the progression of the fungus as early as possible so that it can be killed with a topical cream or ointment.
3. Black toenails: As scary as they sound, black toenails are often nothing more than toenails with a collection of blood underneath them from a crushing or impact injury. In most cases, the bleeding has stopped, and the black color will eventually grow out.
None of these 3 toenail problems are cause for grave concern, so long as they are recognized in their early stages and given the appropriate treatment. The Foot and Ankle Centers of North Houston is the place you can go in the Houston, Texas area for expert nail, foot, and ankle care. Between them, the ten doctors have decades of experience with all types of conditions. Contact us today at (281) 444-4114 to request an appointment at the office that is most convenient for you!