Nail problems can occur at any age. Below we have listed a few of the most common conditions. Should you be concerned that you have any of these or are experiencing sudden changes in colour of the nails then contact one of our podiatrist’s today for advice.
This is probably the most common nail problem Podiatrists see. The nails can curl round on themselves or can break the skin which often leaves the toe very vulnerable to infection.
The causes can vary but the most common are; incorrect nail cutting by leaving small spikes of nail, tight fitting footwear and direct trauma or damage to the nail.
It can occur on the smaller nails but most often happens on the big toenails.
Treatment can vary with the severity of the condition. Initially the podiatrist can reduce the nail to ease the pain and attempt to reshape it. This method tends to only provide short term relief.
For a more permanent solution the podiatrist can perform a minor operation to remove a small section of the nail and prevent nail re-growth of the part removed. This will not leave a scar and tends to look very discrete post-op.
Antibiotics can reduce the infection but do not address the main issue. You should always consult a podiatrist at the earliest possible opportunity to resolve the symptoms and the underlying problem.
Do not cut your nails too short or cut them round like a semi-circle. This increases the risk of leaving a small spike of nail.
Wear footwear that does not squeeze your toes together.
Fungus can penetrate the nail and the nail bed causing rather unsightly nails resulting in; crumbling of the nail, brown/yellow discolouration, lifting of the nail and even a smelly discharge.
Fungus can be confirmed from nail clippings being sent for laboratory testing.
Depending on the severity of the condition the treatment can vary. Reduction of the nail and ‘paint on’ treatments are the most readily available but should these fail your GP may prescribe oral antifungal medication.
It’s also important to remember, when fungal nails are left untreated for many years, the nail will eventually become permanently thickened. Seek treatment at the earliest opportunity.
Try not to file these nails as the dust can carry the fungus and cause problems elsewhere
Thickened misshapen nails; (onychogryphosis) Thickened nails (onychauxic)
This condition is most common in elderly patients and does tend to mimic fungal infections with its yellow thickened appearance. The nail can also twist and have a horn like appearance. The cause of this condition is normally due to repetitive trauma over a number of years from footwear or occupation.
Treatment can involve removing the whole nail with a minor operation or maintaining the nail through regular reduction
Repetitive use of nail polish can result in a yellow/orange staining of the nail. Try not to use it all the time or leave it on the nails for a prolonged period.
Use of nail polish remover regularly can dry out the surrounding tissue of the nail leaving it prone to bacteria and fungus infection.
It sounds simple but drying between your toes after showering is one of the best preventative measures for avoiding complications with the nails and toes.
Change your socks daily.
If you are diabetic or have a reduced immune system then you are more at risk of fungal nail infections.
Make sure that your toes are not restricted in your shoes. Can you wiggle your toes about?
Any sudden changes in nail colour should be followed up with a podiatrist, dermatologist or GP immediately for the best possible outcome.