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Stay on Your Toes To Keep Toenails Healthy

Do you take your feet for granted? Many of us do, until we have a foot or ankle problem and then our feet become very important!

Our toenails too are often neglected – except for periodic pedicures – and so a toenail problem may go unobserved. It’s a good idea to examine your toes every day to look out for any signs of nail-related problems that may even be masked under your favorite shade of polish.

Here are a few toenail problems to watch out for:

Brittle Toenails

Sometimes nails become brittle from trauma or from repeated exposure to harsh solvents like nail polish remover. Brittle nails are vulnerable to splitting or breaking or even peeling off in layers. Nail fungus, nutritional deficiencies, certain medical conditions and some skin diseases such as psoriasis can also cause brittle nails.

Eating a balanced diet along with good nail care like careful trimming and moisturizing can help reduce the symptoms of brittle nail. If your symptoms persist, please call Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM for an evaluation.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are a very common problem and occur when the side or corner of your toenail grows into your toe’s skin and soft flesh. You’ll feel pain and see redness, swelling and sometimes signs of infection. Ingrown toenails can be caused by wearing shoes that are too tight and crowd the toes, and also by rounding your toenail when you cut it instead of trimming it straight across.

Without the right treatment, the infection can deepen and even affect the underlying bone. Please call us if you notice increasing redness or pus at the site.

Read more about how to prevent ingrown toenails in our earlier blog.

Toenail Fungus

If you have a fungal infection on any of your toenails, you’ll see the nail change color, thicken and crumble at the edge. These types of fungi thrive in moist, warm environments like the inside of your shoes.

Sometimes nail fungus responds positively to over-the-counter treatments, but it almost always comes back. For persistent nail fungus, you need a foot doctor’s professional diagnosis and treatment.

You can learn more about treating and preventing fungal toenails in this blog post.

Patients with Diabetes

If you have diabetes, it’s especially important to take good care of your toenails as well as overall foot health. Please call us as soon as possible if you observe any toenail damage including brittle nail, fungal nail or ingrown toenail.

Persistent Toenail Problems Won’t Heal Themselves

Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has extensive experience with all types of toenail problems and can treat most conditions right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. Don’t ignore painful or unsightly toenail conditions – get help by calling us soon!