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How to keep your toes healthy and beautiful

WHAT IS AN EASY AT-HOME REMEDY FOR WIPING OUT NAIL FUNGUS?

Unfortunately, nail fungus isn’t easily treated at home. Fungus is an infection that usually begins in the skin and eventually penetrates the nail. To treat fungus, I suggest a nail biopsy will be needed to evaluate the fungal infection.  Treatment generally begins with removing as much of the affected nails as possible by trimming, filling, and mechanically debriding the nail to a more normal thickness and appearance. Medicated antifungal nail lacquer may be prescribed for a localized mild to moderate infection. Prescription oral antifungal medications may be prescribed for a more serious infection. Laser nail treatment is an alternative to oral medication.  The laser works by passing a light through the toenail to kill fungus that lives below the nail without causing damage to the nail or surrounding tissues. A newer and more effective procedure is micro-drilling.  This is a pain-free procedure that creates micro-pores on the nail bed allowing the anti-fungal topical to penetrate into the nail plate more efficiently and effectively attacking the source of the nail plate more directly.

 

WHAT SORT OF WAYS CAN YOU HEAL TOENAIL CUTICLES?

To heal toenail cuticles you should be properly hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day.  Maintain the proper moisture balance of your cuticles and feet by lubricating them with Eucerine cream and taking vitamins such as: Biotin, Hair Skin & Nail vitamins or prenatal vitamins.

 

ANY TIPS FOR GETTING A CLEAN/SAFE CUT WHEN TRIMMING TOENAILS?

I recommend using the Straight Edge Toenail Clipper to maintain healthy nails and avoid painful ingrown toenails. A straight edge toenail clipper ensures the nails are cut straight across decreasing the chance of ingrown toenails. This can be easily achieved at home, however if an ingrown toenail is present it is recommended to be treated at your podiatrist.   

 

WHAT SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT FILING OUR TOENAILS DOWN?

After cutting your toenails with a straight edge nail clipper, you should file your toenails down with an emery board to smooth out the edges. When filing, it's important to file your toenails using light pressure and long strokes in one direction to minimize the trauma to the surrounding nail bed. 

 

ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR HOW TO MAKE NAIL POLISH ADHERE TO TOENAILS BETTER?

The only thing I can suggest is a light buff to clear the nail from any ridges and oils for a smoother and cleaner application.

 

ANY OTHER TOE CARE TIPS WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?

Examine the color of your toenails each week. There are several things that can negatively impact the color or texture of your nail. Fungus is a common issue that we see. Yellow or brown and thickened nails are signs of fungal nails that can be easily treated by a Podiatrist. But, other colors could indicate larger health issues. For example, a black stripe on your nail could be a result of skin cancer, HIV or Lupus.

 

Don’t walk barefoot ever (especially at the gym!). Walking barefoot on hard surfaces allows our foot to collapse which can lead to a tremendous amount of stress not only to the foot but to the rest of the body, which has the same detriments as wearing flip flops. Walking barefoot also exposes our feet to bacterial and fungal organisms that can infect the skin and nails. These organisms can lead to infections that change the appearance, smell, and comfort of the foot such as athletes foot or fungal nails.

 

Pay better attention to your shoe gear. Make sure that you don’t exhaust the lifeline of your shoe. Rotate your shoes frequently and do not hold on to a shoe when they are worn out. Pay attention to the quality of your shoes not just the sale. The shoe must fit appropriately and be comfortable. Pay special attention to the size, fit and feel. A comfortable shoe will eliminate foot pain or toe deformities.

 

Do not conduct “bathroom surgery” on an ingrown toenail. Taking care of an ingrown on your own can result in a serious infection. When you have an ingrown nail you’ll know how bad it is depending on where the pain is. If you have pain that’s just at the tip of the corner if it’s something you can just clip and you notice that after a day or so of soaking and it goes away, but if cutting the tip isn’t sufficient to address the pain and you have pain at the side or at the base of the nail – you need to go to a specialist sooner rather than later. There’s actually going to be more nail inserted at the toe. So when the pain is that the base of the nail it means that the nail is deeper and that’s going to be addressed by a specialist.

 

Numbness: The most common reason for temporary numbness of the feet is postural habits that put pressure on the nerves and reduce blood flow to the lower extremities. Certain habits can cause temporary sensation of pins and needles in the feet because of positions that may include crossing the legs for too long, sitting or kneeling for long periods of time such as sitting on the toilet for too long, wearing tight shoes or clothes etc. There also underlying diseases that can contribute to more long-term or more frequent episodes of numbness and tingling sensations ranging from conditions such as sciatica pain from a herniated desk‘s, Morton’s neuroma, or diabetic peripheral neuropathy.



Author
Dr. Miguel Cunha Dr. Miguel Cunha, founder of Gotham Footcare and a leading podiatrist in Manhattan, is a highly trained and skilled foot and ankle surgeon with experience treating a wide array of foot and ankle conditions from minor problems to complex reconstructive foot and ankle surgery. Dr. Cunha takes pride in having a genuine interest in each and every one of his patients while providing them the utmost compassion and exceptional care.

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