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General Nail & Skin Care
Because they are so far away from our heart, our feet

are often the first part of the body to show something

is wrong with the way blood is circulating.

 

The condition of our toenails can signal the presence

of the beginning of several diseases. For example,

toenails that are thin, upward curving and with raised

ridges on the surface can indicate iron deficiencies or

anemia (a shortage of iron carried by the blood).

 

Increased nail thickness, or bumps on the nail can be

manifestations of psoriasis which is an inherited skin

condition.

 

Your podiatrist will check the condition of your toenails and can discuss the health implications of their appearance or provide a range of treatments for some toenail problems.

OUR TOENAILS

 

The major parts of the toenail are:

  • The nail itself or nail plate.

  • The matrix, which is where the nails grow from.

  • The lunula, the white moon shaped area at the base of the nail.

  • The nail bed, the soft tissue on which the nail lies and the sulcus, the grove at the side of your nails in which the nail sits.

 

Toenails grow constantly. Healthy nails are pink, free of dirt and impairment and grow along the grooves normally. It takes up to 12 months to replace the toenail of your big toe.

WHO GETS NAIL PROBLEMS?

Toenails of all people and ages can undergo a range of changes, some of which are relatively common. They can become thick, brittle, curved, discoloured, infected, bumpy and grooved. In some cases, the nail falls off and a new one grows. As we grow older, we are more likely to develop nail problems.

WHAT CAUSES NAIL PROBLEMS?

Toenail problems may be caused by warts, tumours under the nail, trauma, infection or poor circulation. Major toenail problems can be caused by incorrectly fitting shoes, which press too tightly on the toenails. Injury, such as bruising under the nail and infection, can cause permanent nail deformity.

COMMON CONDITIONS & TREATMENTS

 

  • INGROWN TOENAILS:

A very common nail problem. They may be caused by improperly trimmed toenails, very curved edges of nails, shoe pressure or repeated trauma to the feet from various activities. The tendency to get ingrown toenails may also be inherited. Pain in the groove (Sulcus) of the toenail can also be due to corn or calluses under the nail edge. Most cases will require conservative treatment, while others may need minor surgical correction that can be conducted in your podiatrists’ rooms using a local anesthetic.

 

  • THICKENED NAILS:

A common condition where a single thickened nail is usually a result of injury to the nail bed, such as dropping something heavy on your toes, or a fungal infection. They can be easily and painlessly thinned down by your podiatrist.

 

  • FUNGAL INFECTIONS:

One of the most troublesome nail conditions to treat. They are often characterised by thickening, discolouration, and separation of the nail from the nail bed. In some cases, the nail crumbles. These infections tend to stay in the nail if they are not treated and can spread to the nail bed. There are a range of anti-fungal medications available for treatment. Your podiatrist can assist with trimming and out of shape nails.

 

  • OTHER INFECTIONS:

These can cause inflammation of the matrix and tissue adjacent to the nail. In people with lowered immunity, this may lead to serious complications, including more widespread infections spreading up the leg. Your podiatrist can assist in detecting such infections early and develop a suitable treatment plan.

 

  • TRAUMA:

This can lead to permanent nail deformity. Such issues can be cared for by regular non painful podiatric treatment, involving filing and possibly the use of a special drill. Older People Older people with poor circulation are prone to fragile, brittle, or thickened nails. Many older people do not have strength, flexibility, or eyesight to trim their nails, especially if their nails have become deformed. They should seek podiatric care for these services and receive advice regarding safe options for self-care.

 

WARNING SIGNS

 

Any sudden changes in colour or shape of the nail, signs of infection, development of a freckle under the nail or pain should be discussed with your podiatrist. Your podiatrist can diagnose the problem and then offer appropriate treatment.

 

TAKING CARE OF YOUR NAILS

 

  1. Trim toenails straight across to a length
    just below the end of the toe

  2. Use a strong pair of nail clippers

  3. After clipping, smooth nails with a file or
    emery board using downward strokes

  4. Only wear properly fitting shoes, not short
    or narrow ones

  5. Wash feet regularly, especially between
    toes, and dry thoroughly

  6. Wear socks or stockings that are not too
    restrictive unless they are prescribed.

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