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Painful Toenails

Information From The American Podiatric Medical Association

In their protective role, nails bear the brunt of daily activities. Walking, running, wearing shoes or participating in sports are just a few of the stresses and strains the feet must endure. All or a portion of the nail can be damaged when the feet are injured or abused.

Nail problems are commonly caused by improper trimming, minor injuries or repeated trauma. Some nail disorders can also be congenital.

Proper trimming (along the contour of the toe) on a regular basis can help keep the toenails in the pink, as can wearing well-fitted, low heeled shoes.

Ingrown Nails

Trimming the nail too deeply into the tissue causes most ingrown nails. Painful ingrown nails may also be caused by an over curvature of the nail. Ingrown nails may also occur in patients anywhere from their teens to their senior years.

Toe injuries that change the nail’s shape also can lead to an ingrown toenail. High-heeled or narrow, pointed shoes can put pressure between the nail and soft tissues, eventually forcing the nail to grow into the skin.

Some common symptoms that appear along the side of the nail include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Extreme pain to the touch, in shoes, and even from sheets
  • Drainage

Fungal Infection (thick nails)

Various types of fungi are present everywhere in the environment. The dark, moist surroundings created by shoes and stockings make the feet especially susceptible to fungal infection. The fungus usually attacks a small portion of the nail after injury and spreads slowly.

Some of the symptoms of a fungus nail include:
Yellow or brownish color of the nail
Thickening of the nail
Debris collecting under the nail
Pain from the thickened nail rubbing in the shoes

Treatment for Nail Disorders

Several treatment options are available for fungal nails. One treatment involves thinning of the thickened nail followed by application of a topical medication. Some new prescription oral medications are also available to stop the fungus from the inside out.

Most ingrown nails tend to reoccur if not treated. Most nail surgeries are performed very comfortably under local anesthesia, and require approximately 30 minutes at the podiatrist’s office. For most cases of ingrown nails, only the portion of the nail that is growing into the skin is removed. A medication is also applied to stop the ingrown portion of nail from re-growing.

 

 
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