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 (844) 375-7622 or our Middlebury office at (844) 221-0942 or reach us via the website. Your toes are valuable, don’t wait too long to address any problems you may see