Posts for category: Foot Conditions
What is an ingrown toenail?
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows into the skin, causing redness, swelling, and pain. While this can happen to any toenail, it more commonly affects the big toe. While a minor ingrown toenail for an otherwise healthy individual may not be a cause for concern, some situations warrant turning to a podiatrist for care.
When should I see a podiatrist?
If you notice any of these signs of an infected ingrown toenail it’s time to visit a foot doctor:
- Increased pain, swelling, or redness
- Skin that’s hard to the touch
- Pus or drainage coming from the nail
Can you prevent ingrown toenails?
There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing an ingrown toenail. Some of these steps include:
- Not picking, pulling, or tearing your toenails (especially torn edges)
- Making sure that you are trimming your nails straight across (never curved) and that you keep them level with the tips of your toes
- Wearing shoes that have a large toe box and don’t bunch up your toes (shoes with a pointed toe will put too much pressure on the toenails)
- Wearing the appropriate footwear for certain activities, such as construction work or sports, to prevent injuries
While we know that there are a lot of reasons why someone might have dry, cracked feet including being on your feet all day, long-distance running or winter weather, your thyroid might also be playing a role. Many people with hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, complain of dry, cracked skin on the soles of their feet, particularly the heels. You may also notice that you get deep, painful fissures or that your skin seems almost leathery in thickness and appearance. This could be a sign to have your thyroid checked.
Since your thyroid is responsible for your metabolism it’s not too surprising that an underactive thyroid slows the metabolism, which in turn causes the body’s temperature to drop. This is why you notice that your feet and hands always seem to be cold to the touch. You may notice that this problem is made worse during cold weather. Some people with hypothyroidism deal with a condition known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, in which the feet and hands are so cold that they go numb and turn blue or white.
Again, there are a lot of things that can lead to swollen feet; however, if you notice swelling in your feet and ankles rather regularly then you may want to have your thyroid checked. Since people with hypothyroidism are also prone to developing tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can lead to permanent nerve damage if left untreated, you must have a podiatrist you can turn to for regular care if you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder.
Has walking or wearing shoes become painful due to an ingrown toenail? Your McKinney and Prosper, TX, podiatrists at Advanced Foot and Ankle Center offer treatments that end the pain of ingrown toenails.
What causes ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails can be caused by:
- The way you cut your nails: Do you round the edges of your toenails? Rounding makes it much easier for the nails to grow into your skin. Cutting toenails straight across reduces your risk of ingrown nails.
- Curved nails: You're much more likely to develop an ingrown toenail if your nails curve downward.
- Nail trauma: Even if you cut your toenails straight across, you can still develop an ingrown nail if you stub your toe or something heavy falls on it.
- The shoes and socks you wear: Tight shoes and socks press against your skin, forcing the edges of the nails into the skin.
- Excessive sweating: Sweat moistens and softens the skin, making it much easier for your toenail to grow into the skin at the sides of your nails.
- Fungal infections: Toenail fungus thickens your nail, increasing your ingrown toenail risk.
When should you visit your podiatrist?
If your ingrown toenail has just begun to grow into the skin, you may be able to free it by inserting a piece of dental floss or cotton under the nail after soaking your foot in warm water. (Don't try to free your nail at home if you have diabetes, as you have a much higher risk for infection due to the disease.)
It's time to call your McKinney and Prosper foot doctor if your nail can't be gently freed at home. You'll also want to schedule an appointment if the pain is severe or interferes with your life, you have ingrown toenails often, or you think you might have an infection. Signs and symptoms of an infected ingrown toenail include redness, pus on your toe, red streaks on your skin, pain, tenderness, or a throbbing sensation.
Your podiatrist can perform a minor, in-office surgical procedure to remove the trapped part of the nail. You may also need to take antibiotics to prevent or treat an infection. If you have frequent ingrown toenails, removing the nail may be the best solution.
Do you struggle with ingrown toenails? Call your podiatrists in McKinney and Prosper, TX, at (972) 542-2155 to schedule an appointment.
Many people can easily manage their bunion symptoms and slow the progression of this common foot deformity through simple lifestyle changes. There are several approaches you can take to reduce bunion pain including,
- Maintain a healthy weight or lose excess weight, which can take pressure off the feet
- Wear shoes that don’t put pressure on the bunion, that provide ample support, and that have lots of room for your toes
- Look for shoes that have a low heel (high heels can make bunions worse)
- Apply a gel or protective pad to the bunion before putting on shoes
- Talk to your podiatrist about the benefits of custom orthotics (aka shoe inserts) and how they could take pressure off the bunion when standing or in motion
- Take pain relievers, whether over-the-counter or prescribed by your doctor
- Warm or cold therapy such as warm soaks or applying ice can also improve swelling, inflammation, and pain (some people prefer the heat to the cold and vice versa; it’s a matter of preference. Try both and see what works best for you!)
- Talk with your podiatrist to see if a night splint could ease morning stiffness and pain
Of course, there are certain scenarios in which a podiatrist may recommend getting surgery to correct the bunion. Here’s when you may want to consider getting surgery,
- You are in significant and chronic pain
- Your bunion is severely enlarged, and the big toe is crossing over the other toes
- Your activities are limited due to your bunion
- Your bunion pain persists for more than a year
- Nonsurgical methods aren’t completely controlling your bunion pain
- You are developing other foot problems such as bursitis or hammertoes due to your bunion
When you bring your child into the podiatrist’s office, the specialist will examine your child’s walk and gait. They will also observe how your child stands to see if their feet turn inwards or to look at how your child’s hips are positioned. Your podiatrist may also recommend imaging tests to look at the alignment of the bones.
While a pediatrician may be the first person to look at and diagnose your child’s pigeon toes, a pediatric podiatrist is going to be able to provide your little one with the specialized treatment and care they need.
Most parents are relieved to find out that many children grow out of mild to moderate forms of pigeon toes. While this may take a few years, this is nothing to worry about and children won’t require special treatment or care.
However, if this issue is detected in your infant, they may need to wear a cast on the feet to fix the alignment before your child begins walking. A podiatrist can also show you a series of stretches and massages that can help the bones grow into the proper alignment.
If your child’s pigeon toes are still causing them issues by 10 years old, then you may want to talk with your podiatrist about whether surgery may be necessary to correct these bone alignment issues.