Toenails often serve as barometers of our health; they are diagnostic tools providing the initial signal of the presence or onset of systemic diseases. For example, the pitting of nails and increased nail thickness can be manifestations of psoriasis. Concavity-nails that are rounded inward instead of outward-can foretell iron deficiency anemia. Some nail problems can be conservatively treated with topical or oral medications while others require partial or total removal of the nail. Any discoloration or infection on or about the nail should be evaluated by a Podiatrist.
An ingrown toenail is a painful condition characterized by the nail digging into the surrounding skin – leading to inflammation and possible infection of the toe. This is a serious condition for people with impaired circulation, diabetes, or other systemic diseases.
Causes of ingrown toenails
- Improper nail trimming
- Pressure from ill-fitting shoes
- Biomechanical foot imbalances
What can you do?
- Trim toenails straight across as a preventative measure
- Select the proper shoe style and size
What can a Podiatrist do for you?
- Perform a physical examination
- When Necessary request an X-ray, bone scan, CT, MRI or other imaging studies
- Remove the ingrown portion of the nail
- Culture the nail
- Prescribe appropriate medications, such as antibiotics
- Perform surgical correction of the nail when indicated