Our toenails may seem small, but they play a big role in protecting our feet. And unfortunately, they’re also susceptible to complications that can cause discomfort, pain, and aesthetic embarrassment.

The team at Atlantic Foot & Ankle Specialists wants you to feel fresh and fit, no matter what kind of woes afflict your toes! To help with that, here’s a breakdown of three common toenail conditions, including their symptoms, causes, and treatment options to help straighten things out for good!

  1. Ingrown Toenails:

A painful and stubborn ailment that can quickly worsen if left untreated, ingrown toenails are best managed by a podiatrist, and most primary care physicians will refer you to a DPM if you bring an ingrown toenail to their attention.

  • Symptoms: Pain, redness, swelling, pus, tenderness around the affected toe, difficulty wearing shoes.
  • Causes: Improper nail trimming (cutting them too short or curved), tight-fitting shoes, trauma, certain foot shapes.
  • Treatment: Home remedies like soaking and applying mild antiseptic can help in mild cases. For severe or recurring cases, podiatrists can remove part of the nail or perform minor surgery.
  1. Fungal Toenail Infections (Onychomycosis):

These infections are remarkably persistent and feature a high likelihood of recurrence, so getting rid of them for good can be a challenge.

  • Symptoms: Discoloration, thickening, brittleness, crumbling, separation from the nail bed, foul odor.
  • Causes: Fungus thrives in warm, moist environments like public showers or gyms, weakened immune system, diabetes, and previous foot injuries.
  • Treatment: Over-the-counter antifungal creams and medications can be effective in mild cases. For more severe infections, oral antifungal medications or laser therapy might be necessary.
  1. Thickened Toenails (Onychogryphosis):

This disorder can stem from a fungal infection, but it’s linked to multiple other sources as well, including deficiencies in circulation, gout, bunions, injuries, and poorly fitting footwear.

  • Symptoms: Nails become thick, hard, and discolored, often yellow or brown. Walking or wearing shoes can be painful.
  • Causes: Repeated trauma, fungal infections, psoriasis, aging, poor circulation.
  • Treatment: Debridement (removal of thickened nail) by a podiatrist, topical medications, addressing underlying conditions. In severe cases, laser therapy or nail removal surgery might be considered.

Don’t let toenail troubles slow you down; instead, contact Atlantic Foot & Ankle Specialists today to set up an appointment. Your toes will thank you!

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