“I have toenail problems. Can a podiatrist help?” Made of the same protein found in hair, fur, hooves, and claws, toenails are like armor for your toes – they protect the pointy bones at the tips of your toes. Certain issues can prevent your toenails from doing this all-important job. Fortunately, a podiatrist can help you overcome toenail problems.
Common Toenail ProblemsSome toenail problems are easy to identify, while others can be more difficult. Getting an accurate diagnosis is essential for a good outcome. A podiatrist is a doctor who receives special training in diagnosing toenail problems. The most common toenail problems include:
- Ingrown toenails – a painful condition in which the corner or side of the toenail grows into the soft skin surrounding the nail
- Brittle nails – very dry nails, which results in nails that are cracked, split, chipped or peeled
- Onycholysis – the nail separates from the nail bed; often caused by injury or fungal infection
- Paronychia – infection of the tissue folds around the toenail; often the result of injury or irritation from a hangnail, damage to the cuticle, or continually wet hands
- Psoriasis – causes discoloration of the nail bed, changes in the structure of the nail that may ultimately lead to crumbling of the nail, and pitting (little dents)
- Onychomycosis – a fungus that causes nails to thicken and become brittle, crumbly or ragged
Causes of Toenail ProblemsYour podiatrist can determine the cause of your toenail problem, which may include:
- Trauma, such as dropping something heavy on your toe
- Ill-fitting shoes, which can pinch your toes to cause ingrown toenails
- Poor circulation – like other tissues in the body, toenails need oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood for healthy growth; poor circulation can cause your toenails to change color, grow thicker, or become brittle
- Poor nerve supply – nerve damage, also known as neuropathy, can cause thick or discolored nails
Can a Podiatrist Fix My Toenail Problems?Feet and toes have anatomical structures that require expert care. While toenails seem insignificant and simple, the issues that affect the health of your toenails may be complex and require the care of a doctor. A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) who has completed four years of specialized training in a podiatric medical school and three years of hospital residency training, which is similar to the training other physicians complete. Some podiatrists go on to complete fellowship training. Podiatrists can fix a wide variety of toenail issues that you cannot address by yourself at home. They can remove the ingrown portion of a toenail, for example, and prescribe medications to treat infections. Treatment for onychomycosis includes removing the damaged tissue, removing the affected nail, and prescription medications. Your podiatrist can even suggest home treatments to help you regain your healthy toenails and prevent future problems. For more information about ways a podiatrist can fix your toenails – or if you have a toenail problem that needs the care of a podiatrist – make an appointment with Alamitos – Seal Beach Podiatry Group. Our podiatrists offer the most up-to-date and highest quality treatment for toenail issues and other problems affecting your feet.
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Fill out the form below to reach Alamitos – Seal Beach Podiatry Group, or call Los Alamitos: (562) 203-6151 or Seal Beach: (562) 242-1559 for immediate assistance.