Did you know that nails can be an indicator of your overall health? Deficiencies and health problems can often result in abnormalities in your nails, so paying attention to your nail health and preventing nail issues are important! The most common nail problems are ingrown toenails and nail fungus, which can be especially problematic for those with preexisting health conditions like diabetes.

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail results when the edge of a nail digs into the fleshy part of the toe, most often the big toe, which leads to redness, inflammation, irritation and possibly infection if left untreated. Common causes are improperly trimmed nails, as well as excessive pressure on nails from footwear or repetitive activity.

What is nail fungus?

Nail fungus is an infection of the toenail that is caused by a fungus that grows on or underneath the nail bed. It can worsen over time to cause brittleness, thickening, odor and discoloration of the nails.

There are many ways to prevent these common problems through careful nail care:

  • Wash feet daily with warm soap and dry thoroughly, especially between toes
  • Trim toenails straight across to avoid improper nail growth
  • Avoid wearing tight footwear
  • Do not walk barefoot in public areas
  • Change socks frequently and wear moisture-wicking material
  • Disinfect nail clippers and any pedicure tools you use
  • Wear shoes with breathable material
  • Inspect your feet daily
  • See podiatrist regularly if you have diabetes

Although you may see over the counter treatments for your nail issues, the most effective way to treat your nail problems is to see a board-certified podiatrist. A foot care specialist is equipped to diagnose conditions quickly and can create individualized treatment plans to provide the best quality care.

At Podiatry Center of New Jersey, Dr. Russell Samofal treats a variety of foot and ankle conditions, including toe deformities, sports injuries, diabetic foot problems, arthritis, heel pain, and nerve conditions. Dr. Samofal provides compassionate care to patients all across Morris, Passaic, Bergen and Essex counties. To schedule an appointment, please call our Wayne office at (973) 925-4111.