The humble toenails; we pinch them with tight or narrow shoes. We wash them, trim them and polish them. We look at them every day. But do we give them credit for the important job they play?
Toenails are a level of protection for your toes in the event of injury. The hard surface reinforces the bone, flesh and muscle that it covers. It’s critical for overall foot health to keep the toenails healthy and strong.
Patients with Diabetes Must Stay on Top of Toenail Health
Individuals with diabetes must monitor their overall body health. Diabetes can bring some serious complications and even something as seemingly insignificant as your toenails can be an indicator of a problem.
Do your toenails look normal or have they become thick and brittle? You may have a fungus infection called onychomycosis. With this condition, the nails break off easily into sharp points that can cause tiny cuts in the surrounding tissue and skin. Any break in the skin can let bacteria in, especially in the feet where they are not easily observed.
Often neuropathy goes hand in hand with diabetes. Neuropathy, a nerve damage disease, causes loss of sensation in the extremities like the feet. You may not be able to feel cuts, sores or other types of foot damage that can lead to foot ulcers.
Good Foot Care Can Reduce the Risk of Infections
Practice good foot care to limit your risk of developing toenail or other fungus:
• Keep feet clean with a daily wash in soapy water, rinse and dry carefully, especially between the toes.
• Don’t go barefoot. Wear sturdy, well-fitting shoes and warm socks for protection. Look for fabric that can wick moisture away from the feet; cotton does not do this well. Look for acrylic fabrics.
• Wear shower shoes or flip flops when visiting public pools, showers, gyms and showers.
• If you do a home pedicure, clean nail care tools thoroughly each time and sterilize with alcohol.
• Stay away from artificial fingernails that may trap water and harbor fungus.
Importantly, inspect your feet every day and call Advanced Foot & Ankle Center if you spot any change in appearance. Check toenails too for changes, especially in color or shape. Anemia sometimes causes toenails to appear paler or white. Rounded nails can be a sign of infection, lung disease or even certain kinds of cancer.
We Can Help with any Toenail, Foot or Ankle Problems
Please don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions or concerns on your foot health. Dr. Paul Betschart, board certified podiatrist will quickly diagnose any problem and discuss the best treatment options with you. You can reach our Danbury office at (203) 791-0466 or our Middlebury office at (203) 754-2249 or reach us via the website. Your toes are valuable, don’t wait too long to address any problems you may see
You know the telltale bump on the outside of the big toe that makes wearing shoes so difficult. The bony protrusion, caused by the joint at the base of the big toe moving out of place, gets a lot of friction from shoes and a lot of pressure from bearing weight, which creates pain both inside and out. At Advanced Foot & Ankle Care, we want our patients to be informed about the causes and treatments of this common complaint.
A bunion is actually the result of a bone deformity. First, the joint at the base of the big toe begins to move out of place due to an imbalance in the weight distribution on the joints and tendons. The big toe drifts toward the second toe, eventually causing the bump on the side of the toe. Although bunions themselves are not hereditary, the faulty foot structure that causes the misalignment of the toe bone can be genetic. Other causes of bunions are an injury and arthritis.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Although a bunion is readily visible, our podiatrist, Dr. Paul Betschart, may order an x-ray to see the degree of deformity and how far the bunion has progressed. Once the bunion has been evaluated, a treatment plan can be determined that is right for you. There are several conservative measures the foot doctor can use, including:
• Icing-to relieve inflammation and pain
• Medications-nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen may be prescribed for pain relief
• Padding-placed over the bunion to help protect it and reduce friction from footwear
• Orthotics-inserted into shoes can help correct mechanical defects and shift pressure off the affected joints
Your footwear choices can also make a big difference in your comfort level. Choose shoes with roomy toe boxes and low heels to minimize pain and pressure. For more information on how to treat a bunion, contact our Danbury or Middlebury office for an appointment. 203 791-0466
P.S. Ask Susan about our FREE CONSULTATION offer.