If there is a part of your body that is exposed to inordinate amounts of stress, it must be your toenails. Irrespective of what you do for a living, you likely have subjected your toes to tightness due to ill-fitting shoes, trauma from stubbing them against furniture, excessive amounts of moisture perhaps due to sweat and more! With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that most people will contend with toenail problems at one point or another.
The trick to making sure that your health does not become severely compromised is knowing whether your particular issue can easily be treated with home remedies or if you will need to see a medical professional. To help you with that, this article outlines a couple of toenail problems and when you should see a podiatrist about them.
An ingrown nail
Ingrown nails can be extremely painful. Furthermore, you will notice symptoms such as tenderness in the affected toe, swelling, redness and, in some cases, discharge too! Ingrown nails come about because of several reasons. Most commonly, you will develop an ingrown toenail when you clip the nail too short. However, you can also be afflicted with this condition when you wear tight shoes regularly, if the nail is too large for the toe or if the toe has acquired some trauma.
If the ingrown toenail causes mild pain, you could treat it at home by soaking your foot in hot water on occasion. However, if pus is oozing from the affected toe or if you are in debilitating pain, it is essential to see a podiatrist so that they can ensure that you have not developed an infection. Individuals that have underlying medical problems, for example, diabetes or poor circulation, need to see a podiatrist so that the ingrown toenail does not cause other health issues.
A fungal infection
Some people may have trouble detecting if their toenails have developed a fungal infection because this issue can manifest in several ways. In some cases, the nail may become discoloured and if the patient is not in pain then they will not think twice about the yellowing. In other cases, the toenail could start emitting a foul odour and this is usually accompanied by crumbling, both of which are indicative of an infection that is changing the composition of the toenail.
Take note, fungal infections are contagious. Hence, you can develop this toenail issue if you visit communal spaces, such as a public shower at the gym, barefoot. It is advisable to see a podiatrist if you are concerned about a fungal infection so that you can get anti-fungal medication. Depending on the severity of the infection, the podiatrist may have to debride the affected nail.
If you have additional questions, contact a local podiatrist.