toenail

Ingrown Toenail Pain

Ingrown ToenailDo you have pain on the side of your toe and it looks like the nail has grown into the skin? Although common, ingrown toenails can be extremely painful. Trying to put a shoe on or even walk barefoot can cause pain. If the ingrown toenail is not taken care of it can actually lead to an infection. What can be done to take care of the toenail? Do you need to call your podiatrist?

Known as onychocryptosis in the medical world, this painful condition can become chronic. Repeated episodes can lead to infections, redness, and swelling. There are a number of reasons as to why a person can suffer from an ingrown toenail. Some people have this problem because it is congenital. A great example of congenial would be those whose toenails are just too large. People who have toes that curl tend to have more episodes of ingrown toenails. Stubbing your toe or any other type of trauma can also cause ingrown toenails. Having your foot stepped on or dropping something heavy on the foot can cause the nail to become jammed or stuck in the skin. Runners often have problems with ingrown toenails due to the constant pounding on the feet on long runs.

Ingrown Toenail- Most Common Cause

The most common cause of ingrown toenails is cutting them wrong. If the toenails are cut wrong they can grow into the skin. Tight socks and shoes can also make matters worse because the toenail is being pushed in. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail and your toe is painful, swollen and red where the nail meets the skin, you may have an infection. Once the nail punctures the skin, it is the perfect port or entryway for germs that can cause infection. If the ingrown toenail is not treated the nail grows further under the skin and the infection can become much worse. The infection needs to be treated by your podiatrist and antibiotics. As soon as you notice that you have an ingrown toenail you should contact your foot doctor.

Until you can see your doctor the following tips will help to provide some relief:

  • Soak the foot in warm water with Epsom salt added.
  • Thoroughly dry your foot and make sure to get the area where it is painful.
  • Cover painful area with a mild antiseptic.
  • Put a bandage over the area.
  • Wear socks and shoes that give the toes extra room.

It is important that you learn to cut your toenails properly. Holding your nail clippers, cut the nails straight across and make sure the corners of the nails are visible. If the nail is cut too short or the edges are rounded the nail will want to grow into the skin. Once the nail begins puncturing the skin you are on your way to an ingrown toenail and possible infection.

If you go to the salon to have a pedicure be sure your toenails are cut as described above. Another great tip when visiting the salon for your pedicure is to bring your own pedicure kit. Using your own kit will also reduce the risk of infection.

Pedicures- Are They Safe?

Pedicure Completed

Spring is here and after the long winter we are ready to shake off the heavy socks and boots. Now that we are going to be showing off the feet it is time for a pedicure. Are pedicures safe? Is there the danger of getting an infection? There are precautions that you can take to keep your feet safe and looking great.

Disinfection Techniques at Nail Spas

Most nail salons will use a disinfecting solution, and there should be about 10 minutes in between each person in the chair. Some salons may be using UV lights to sanitize the tools, the problem with using UV lights to sanitize is that it is supposed to be a six-hour process. Unfortunately, there are nail salons that will pop the tools into the machine for a few minutes and then pull them back out. Do not be shy about asking about the sanitation techniques used, your health depends on it.

Do Not Shave Your Legs Before Pedicure

Although this seems a bit backwards because we are going to have nice feet and prickly legs but shaving your legs before a pedicure is a no-no. The reason for not shaving your legs right before a pedicure is to protect yourself from getting an infection. If you accidently nick your leg, you are opening up the pathway for the germs to enter your body. It is best to hold off on the shaving until after the pedicure.

Bring Your Pedicure Tools

The trend of bringing your own pedicure tools is finally catching on. You are able to clean and disinfect your tools and know for sure they have only been used on your feet. The pedicure tools that you will want to be bringing should include nail files, orange sticks, nail buffers and foot files. Be sure to watch and make sure that the only tools being used on your feet are yours. Once your pedicure is finished, you can take your tools home and disinfect them.

Cutting Straight is Great

Let the pedicurist know that you want your toenails cut straight across. Toenails that are cut with the edges rounded can lead to ingrown nails. Ingrown nails can be very painful and will earn you a visit with your foot specialist. Before the pedicure even begins let the technician know exactly how you want your nails cut. If you are already having issues with ingrown toenails, it is best to see your podiatrist and not get the pedicure.

Cuticles- To Push Back or Not?

The cuticle is what protects the nail and should not be pushed back. By having the cuticles clipped and pushed back the risk of infection increases. It is important to not harm the cuticles in any way including buffing the nails too hard.

Not Sure of the Salon? See Your Podiatrist

If you are uneasy about going to the salon for a pedicure, you are not alone. Remember, you can always see your podiatrist. The podiatrist office may not feel like a salon, but you will have less worries.

 

 

 

 

 

What is Athlete’s Foot?

 

 

Athlete’s foot will usually begin as a rash that can cause intense itching. Athlete’s foot is also known as tinea pedis and usually starts between the toes. Athlete’s foot will usually strike those people who wear tight-fitting shoes and have feet that sweat. The more your feet sweat the worse the symptoms seem to be.

Signs of Athlete’s Foot

Most common signs of athlete’s foot are itching, burning and stinging. Athlete’s foot is also very contagious and can be picked up from floors, towels and showers. Anywhere that a person has walked barefoot that has athlete’s foot will be contaminated.

Athlete’s foot is related to a few other fungal infections including jock itch and ringworm. Athlete’s foot can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications. If you find that the over-the-counter antifungal medications are not working it is time to see your foot specialist. There are medications available that can be prescribed and will reduce the discomfort quickly. Athlete’s foot can cause your feet to hurt and bleed if it is not taken care of.

You may notice that athlete’s foot can become worse at night after taking your shoes and socks off. Some forms of athlete’s foot can become so severe that it will cause blisters and open sores. If you have blisters try not to scratch them and open them up. If you do touch your blisters or feet be sure to wash your hands right away. Athlete’s foot can spread to your hands.

Time to see your Foot Specialist

If you suspect you have athlete’s foot and you have diabetes then you need to see your foot specialist right away. If you notice swelling, redness and have a fever then put a call into your podiatrist. There is no need having to suffer when your doctor is a phone call away.

What Causes Athlete’s Foot

Caused by the same organisms as jock itch and ringworm, athlete’s foot thrives in damp places that are warm. Try to wear shoes that allow the feet to breath at all times. Try to wear white cotton socks over those that are heavier and do not allow your feet to breath.

Avoiding Athlete’s Foot

  • Wear shoes that allow your feet to breath.
  • Do not share mats, bed linens, towels, socks or shoes with someone who has athlete’s foot.
  • Do not walk barefoot in public areas including public showers. Wear flip-flops to protect your feet when in public areas.

Athlete’s foot that is not taken care of can spread to other parts of your body including your nails, your hands and your groin area.

What to Expect From Your Foot Doctor

Your foot doctor will examine your feet. You will be asked when this rash started. Does any other family member have athlete’s foot? Have you been in public showers, swimming pools or other areas where athlete’s foot may have spread?

If you have questions about athlete’s foot be sure to ask your doctor. The better informed you are the less chance of contracting this type of rash again.

Read These Helpful Tips About Maintaining Toenail Health

Many people pay little attention to their toenails until they realize they have a nail problem. Nail health should never be overlooked, and there are a few basic maintenance procedures that should be incorporated into your daily routine. Healthy nails are attractive nails, and as we move through winter towards spring and open toed shoes, more people will be working to maximize the appearance of their toenails.

First and foremost, a good diet will encourage nail health. Nails are made out of keratin, and a diet rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals allows them to develop well. Lack of proper nutrients can cause weak and discolored toenails (and also fingernails), which break easily and are often unsightly. Incorporating things like beans, seeds and nuts, and leafy green vegetables into your daily menu will have a positive effect on your entire body, not just your nails.

Combined with the right diet, another basic way to achieve healthy nails is to wash your feet every day. This doesn’t mean simply letting the water hit them while in the shower—there must be a separate process for cleaning the feet. Mildly warm water and antibacterial soap should be used to wash under and between the toes, and then afterwards a towel must be used to dry the feet and toes properly. It is important to make sure that all moisture is eliminated after washing because wet feet are a breeding ground for toenail fungus.

The most common mistake people make pertaining to their toenails is clipping them incorrectly. Toenails should always be cut straight across, never down the sides, because it can lead to ingrown toenails. Clipping them too short can also cause ingrown nails to develop.

A final tip is to always keep your feet covered when in public areas where other people’s feet are often exposed, such as at the pool or in a locker room. Making sure they do not make contact with the floor will prevent the spread of various kinds of toenail funguses and even warts.

If you would like more information about proper toenail care or would like to make an appointment for an ingrown toenail, nail fungus, or other concern, call Dr. Ken Lefkowitz at his Doylestown office, Quality Foot Care.