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Common Toenail Conditions  - Changes in Nail Shape

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Common Toenail Conditions  - Changes in Nail Shape

 

There are many reasons why the shape of the nail may change over time, including hereditary factors, injuries, changes in circulation, and fungal infections.

 

The most common change is the thickening of the nail. In the most advanced cases nails can become more than half an inch thick.

 

Other changes in shape include curving, clubbing, and "spoon-shaped" nails.

 

There are many reasons why the shape of the nail may change over time, including hereditary factors,  injuries, changes in circulation, and fungal infections.

 

The most common change is the thickening of the nail.

 

In the most advanced cases nails can become more than half an inch thick. Other changes in shape include curving, clubbing, and "spoon-shaped" nails.

 

Thickening of the toenail is often caused by a fungal infection.

 

Fortunately for those who are vulnerable to thickening of the nails, a thorough nail treatment, done one to four times anually by a podiatrist, can control the problem.

 

 

 

Curving usually occurs at the corners of the nails and can lead to ingrowing nails, nails with a peak at the center, or nails that become tubular in shape.

 

A curved nail is probably the most difficult to trim and tends to become progressively more curved in time.

 

Curving usually occurs at the corners of the nails and can lead to ingrowing nails, nails with a peak at the center, or nails that become tubular in shape.

 

"Clubbing" refers to nails that have a bulbous shape, and appears in the fingers as well as the toes of affected individuals.

 

The nail broadens and bulges as it curves downwards around the end of the toe.

 

It also becomes thin and rubbery and can separate from the nail bed.

 

 

Clubbing is often an indication of heart or lung disease.

 

Spoon-shaped nails loosen and curve upwards at the ends of the toes and are thin, dry, and whitish in colour. 

 

They usually indicate a systemic condition, such as iron deficiency anemia, systemic lupus, or Raynaud's disease/phenomenon.

 

Reference: Great Feet For Life: Paul Langer, DPM

Common Toenail Conditions - Bleeding Under The Nail

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Common Toenail Conditions - Bleeding Under The Nail

 

Black, purple, or blue colour changes to the nail after a nail injury usually mean there is bleeding under the nail.

 

Bleeding under the nail is commonly caused by dropping something heavy on the toenail or stubbing the toe nail against a hard object.

 

It can also be caused by wearing a tight pair of shoes or having a thick nail If the nail is not painful, it does not need to be treated.

 

Typically a damaged nail will loosen over the course of several weeks or months until it seperates completely.

 

Gradually, a new nail will grow out to replace the old one. In fact, the injured nail is often "pushed off" as the new nail grows underneath it.

 

 

 

It usually takes eight to ten months for the new nail to completely grow  out over the nail bed.

 

If you have an injured nail that is loosening from the nail bed, trim it so that it does not catch on your socks or sheets.

 

Nails with loose edges can also be covered with a bandage or medical tape to prevent further injury.

 

 

If the nail is painful and there is notable redness or swelling, the blood may need to be drained .

 

Draining often offers dramatic and immediate pain relief as the pressure under the nail is reduced.

 

A medical professional should perform this procedure to avoid further injury and infection.

 

Reference: Great Feet For Life: Paul Langer, DPM 

Common Toenail Conditions

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Common Toenail Conditions 

Certain common toenail conditions can complicate the care of your nails. Most of us will experience changes in the shape, texture, and colour of our nails as we age. These changes are often no more than a nuisance. But sometimes they can result in pain or infection.

 

In addition to signs of aging, changes in the toenails can also be symptoms of systemic disease, so they should not be taken lightly or ignored, especially if they affect both the hands and feet.Certain common toenail conditions can complicate the care of your nails.

 

Most of us will experience changes in the shape, texture, and colour of our nails as we age. These changes are often no more than a nuisance. But sometimes they can result in pain or infection. In addition to signs of aging, Changes in the toenails can also be symptoms of systemic disease, so they should not be taken lightly or ignored, especially if they affect both the hands and feet.

 

  

Age-Related Changes In Toenails

 

Over the course of a lifetime the toenails can take quite a beating. Remember. we take five to ten thousand steps a day, often while wearing hot, confining footwear. The toenails are subjected to much more daily abuse than fingernails, and confining them in shoes for extended periods of time makes them even more vulnerable to injury and infection.  

 

It is not uncommon for toenails that have been injured or subjected to constant pressure to become thick and painful over time. This can happen to  one or several nails. The nails of the big toe and the small toe are usually the first to show age-relatyed changes, because they tend to bear the brunt of shoe pressure.

 

Most problems caused by age-related well to good foot hygience, proper nail and skin care, and the use of topical medications.

 

 

 

As noted above, your nails tend to grow more slowly as you age. The good news is that you may not have to trim your nails so often. The bad news is that your nails can become more vulnerable to fungal infection and slower to heal from injuries.

 

One theory on why older people are more likely to have fungal infections of the toenails is that the slower growing nail allows fungus living on the skin to advance up and under the end of the nail and infect the nail from the bottom up. Basically, the fungus advances faster than the growing nail can "push" it away.

 

Reference: Great Feet For Life: Paul Langer, DPM

Common Toenail Conditions - Changes in Nail Colour

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Common Toenail Conditions - Changes in Nail Colour

 

When nails change colour, they most commonly turn yellow, but they can also appear brown, gray, blue, or red. Colour changes can affect the whole nail or only part of it. In some cases the colour changes are not in the nail at all but in the skin under the nail.

 

Sometimes a change in the colour of the toenails can be caused by an injury. A discoloration of this sort usually grows out with the nail and is gradually trimmed away with routine nail care. When nails change colour, They most commonly turn yellow, but they can also appear brown, gray, blue, or red.

 

Colour changes can affect the whole nail or only part of it. In some cases the colour changes are not in the nail at all but in the skin under the nail.

 

Sometimes a change in the colour of the toenails can be caused by an injury. A discoloration of this sort usually grows out with the nail and is gradually trimmed away with routine nail care. 

 

The discoloration can, however, take up to a year to resolve. This process can occur very slowly over the course of several years. Yellowing of the nails sometimes improves or even resolves with topical or oral antfugal treatment.

 

Coloured lines can also occur in the nails. A white line across the nail from sid-to-side is commonly called a Mee's line.

 

This line often affects more than one nail, but it can occur in just one. The line advances with the growing nail and may be a symptom of congestive heart failure, the effects of chemotherapy, or systemic insult.

 

 

 

Bands of white lines that disappear when the nail is compressed are called Muehrcke's lines. Unlike Mee's lines, Muehrcke's lines do not advance as the nail grows.Coloured lines can also occur in the nails. A white line across the nail from sid-to-side is commonly called a Mee's line.

 

This line often affects more than one nail, but it can occur in just one. The line advances with the growing nail and may be a symptom of congestive heart failure, the effects of chemotherapy , or systemic insult. Bands of white lines that disappear when the nail is compressed are called Muehrcke's lines.

 

Unlike Mee's lines, Muehrcke's lines do not advance as the nail grows.Muehrcke's lines can be caused by liver disease or malnutrition.Muehrcke's lines can be caused by liver disease or malnutrition.

 

White lines in the nail that are oriented lengthwise (instead of across the nasil from one side to the other) are usually of no significance and a likely just a result of minor trauma  to the nail or of the normal aging process. Occasionally they are accompanied by lengthwise ridges in the nail as well.

 

 

Red or brown lines that are oriented along the length of the nail (not side-to-side) are often splinter hemorrhages. They result from rupture of small blood vessels. They may be caused by trauma, psoriasis, or endocarditis. 

 

Red or brown lines that are oriented along the length of the nail (not side-to-side) are often splinter hemorrhages. They result from rupture of small blood vessels. They may be caused by trauma, psoriasis, or endocarditis. 

 

If they are accompanied by fever and similar changes to the skin around the nail, they should be evaluated by a doctor.People with darker skin often have dark nail discoloration or lines .While this is most often  an incidental finding, it can make it more difficult to distinguish benign conditions from more serious conditions.

 

There are several causes for changes in nail colour that need to be addressed by a general practitioner or podiatrist, These causes include bacterial infections, circulation changes (usually decreased circulation), poor nutrition, and drug reactions.

 

Certain diseases, including skin cancer, psoriasis, kidney disese, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, can also cause nail discoloration. If you suspect any of these causes, seek the advice of a doctor.

 

Reference: Great Feet For Life: Paul Langer, DPM 

Professional Nail Care Services

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Professional Nail Care Services

 

There is no substitute for expert care. Podiatrists are nail care experts. Their education and training make them your best option for diagnosing and treating all nail conditions. Some podiatrists make regular visits to senior centers, community centres and homes in addition to keeping their regular office hours.

 

But there are other nail care professionals who can assist with nail care as well.There is no substitute for expert care. Podiatrists are nail care experts.

 

Their education and training make them your best option for diagnosing and treating all nail conditions. Some podiatrists make regular visits to senior centers, community centres and homes in addition to keeping their regular office hours. But there are other nail care professionals who can assist with nail care as well.

 

Foot care nurses specialize in nail and skin care . many local senior centers offer access to footcare nurses. Footcare nurses tyupically do not accept health insurance, but their rates for trimming calluses and toenails tend to be very reasonable.

 

 

Footcare nurses can also assess foot and nail conditions and make referrals to a podiatrist as necessary.For most people, a reputable nail salon is a viable option for basic foot and nail care.

 

However, if you have a circulation disorder, diabetes, or numbness in your feet, you should avoid nail salons and see a doctor or other health care provider instead.If you decide to visit a nail salon , check it out carefully first.

 

Ask the nail technician if he or she uses sterile instruments and cleanse the foot basin  (not just changes the water) between customers. If not, find another salon.Even when you find a good nail technician, consider bringing your own nail instruments to the salon to minimize the risk of infection.

 

 

Make sure the technician trims nails properly and does not remove the cuticles.

 

Paying For Professional nail Care Services

 

Paying For Professional nail Care ServicesIf you have diabetes, a circulation disorder, a nerve disorder, or a history of limb ulcers and amputation, you may qualify for medical nail ad callus care under Medicare Guidelines. Ask your insurance provider, primary care doctor, or p[odiatrist whether you qualify for coverage.

 

Even if you have to pay fees foe services yourself, it is often much safer and, in the long run, more cost-effective to have a podiatrist treat your feet. You could benefit from just one or two care visits a year.

 

Reference: Great Feet For Life: Paul Langer, DPM

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