Toenail Conditions And Treatment - Triad Foot & Ankle Center

Toenail Conditions


should i visit a podiatrist

Toenail problems can range from painful and frustrating to embarrassing and unsightly. The good news is there are preventative treatments that can restore your nails to good health. Here are some of the most common toenail problems, their symptoms, and recommended treatments.

Yellow Toenails

Yellow toenails can be caused by many conditions, diseases, and personal habits. Did you know that painting your toenails red, orange or yellow can stain your nails even after you remove the polish?  Toenail polish stains may be minor, but yellow toenails can also be the result of a more serious problem like fungal infections or diabetes.  If yellow toenails are accompanied by additional symptoms such as thickening of the nail, brittle and weak nails or nails that crumble and flake, the likely culprit is toenail fungus, a common condition that affects millions of people annually.  A fungus can begin with walking barefoot in public or in damp places, or with not allowing your toenails to air out after they get wet.  To prevent yellow toenail fungus make it a habit to wear clean socks, wear shoes made of breathable material, and clean and dry your feet and toes thoroughly every day.

If you do have yellow toenails and suspect that you have a toenail fungus you have several options. If your infection is mild, medicated toenail polish that includes the ingredient Ciclopirox may alleviate the discoloration; oral antifungal medication such as Lamisil or Sporanox is also an option.  In addition, a new, FDA-approved laser technology has proved successful at eliminating the fungus from affected toenails. This in-office procedure is quick and painless.


Black and Blue Toenails

Black-and-blue toenails are caused by injury to the skin below the toenail. When an injury occurs, blood and fluid collect beneath the nail plate and the nail itself begins to appear black in color. The condition occurs most frequently among runners and other athletes because of the rough impact their toes are subjected to on a constant basis.

If the pain is severe you should see a podiatrist immediately to determine if you need treatment. A podiatrist might suggest drilling a hole in the nail to drain the nail and relieve pressure, or he or she might recommend removing the toenail altogether. Pain occurring from a blackened toenail can also be relieved by icing or soaking the area or with prescription medications. In some cases, the injured nail may fall off on its own and a new nail will grow in its place.’


Ingrown Toenails

Millions of people suffer from ingrown toenails every year– they’re one of the most common foot-related conditions across all age levels.

An ingrown nail occurs when the edge of a toenail imbeds itself into the surrounding skin, that results in pain, redness, discomfort, swelling, and warmth to the toe. Ingrown toenails most frequently occur on the big toe, but can also occur on any other toes.

An ingrown toenail is not only uncomfortable, but it may also lead to infection and inflammation—in severe cases you may see pus or redness around the affected area. If the toenail is not infected then a proper trim from your podiatrist may help. In severe cases, the ingrown toenail may require antibiotics and a temporary or permanent removal of a portion of the nail.


Thickened Toenails

Thickened toenails can be caused by injury to the toe, pressure from shoes or from pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, psoriasis, or vascular disease. Other symptoms of thickened toenails include rigid, brittle or yellowed nails, with or without the presence of pain when pressure is applied to the affected toenail.

Most often, thickened toenails do not occur spontaneously, as they are a symptom of another condition or problem. If you find yourself with thickened toenails, you should see a podiatrist to determine the underlying cause.

Believe you are suffering from a toenail condition? Click here to request your appointment with one of our podiatrists.