Nail Disorders

Early Care is Best for Nail Health!
In their protective role, nails bear the brunt of daily activities. Walking, running, wearing shoes or participating in sports are just a few of the stresses and strains the feet must endure. All or a portion of the nail plate can be damaged when the feet are injured or abused.

Nail problems are commonly caused by improper trimming, minor injuries or repeated trauma. Some nail disorders can also be congenital. Proper trimming (along the contour) on a regular basis can help keep the toenails in the pink, as can wearing well-fitted, low to moderately heeled shoes.

Nail health is very important. Pain caused by nail disorders is one of the most common complaints that we hear from our patients.


Nail Problems And Their Care

Ingrown Nail
Painful ingrown nails may be congenital, caused by an overcurvature of the nail, or an imbalance between the width of the nail plate and the nail bed.
Toe injuries that change the nail's contour also can lead to an ingrown toenail. Toe deformities (such as a bunion that forces the big toe to lean toward the second toe), high-heeled or narrow, pointed shoes can put pressure between the nail and soft tissues, eventually forcing the nail to grow into the skin.

Symptoms:
Redness, swelling and infection make the toe very painful.
Ingrown nails can be accompanied by other toe disorders, such as excess surrounding tissue or an outgrowth of bone beneath the nail.

Treatments for the Ingrown Nail:
Surgery is often necessary to ease the pain and remove the offending nail. Only a portion of the nail may be removed. If the entire nail is affected or there is a severe nail deformity, the nail plate and matrix (the cells that grow the nail) may be completely removed (see "Surgical Treatments for Nail Disorders").


Fungal Infections

Various types of fungi are present everywhere in the environment. The dark, moist surroundings created by shoes and stockings make the feet especially susceptible to fungal infection.

Most fungi are harmless until they penetrate the skin. A fungus can invade through minor cuts, or after injury or repeated irritation to the toes have caused the nail to separate from the bed. Fungal infections of the nail plate and nail matrix are quite common.

Symptoms:
Fungus may cause the nail to thicken and become yellow or brownish. As the fungus grows, foul-smelling, moist debris can be seen. Pressure from a thickened nail or the build-up of debris may make the toe painful.

Treatments for Fungal Infections:
Until now, the only solutions for unsightly toenail infections were to surgically remove the nail and apply topical treatments, which have a known poor success rate; or more recently, prescription medications, which have many potentially dangerous side effects and require blood tests.

Lasers are the latest treatment for your ugly unsightly toenail infections:
The Q-Clear Q-Switch™ laser treatment can effectively and efficiently rid you of ugly unsightly toenail infections in as little as one treatment, depending on the severity of the condition. The mid-infrared laser wavelength penetrates the nail and the nail bed, eliminating the destructive nasty infection thus allowing your own body to revitalize your own nail naturally as it grows out clean clear and healthy.

  • Quick, in-office procedure
  • Safe & Effective Treatment
  • Virtually Painless
  • No downtime from your regular activities
  • Alternative to prescription medications

 

Blood Beneath The Nail

A very common result of active lifestyles is blood, or a hematoma, beneath the toenail. Hematomas are especially common among people who jog or play tennis, caused by the toes repeatedly rubbing against the shoe.

A hematoma might indicate a fractured bone, especially after an injury (such as dropping a heavy object on the end of the toe). The toe should be examined by the podiatric surgeon, who may take an X-ray to determine the most appropriate treatment.

Hematoma Treatments:
If the hematoma is treated within the first few hours of forming, the podiatric surgeon will create a tiny hole in the nail plate using a fine-point drill or scalpel. This releases the blood and relieves pain.

If several days have passed and the blood clot becomes painful, the nail plate may require removal so that the nail bed can be cleaned. Some podiatric surgeons prefer to remove the nail plate whenever blood forms beneath it, because the blood can attract fungi and lead to infection.

The nail may also be removed to treat a bone fracture beneath the hematoma. If the bone has fractured but has not moved out of its normal position, a splint may be used to keep the toe aligned during healing.

Nail plates that have been removed will grow again within three to six months.

Surgical Treatments For Nail Disorders:
If the problem is severe or chronic, surgery to remove all or a portion of the nail may be recommended.

Most surgeries are performed very comfortably under local anesthesia, and require less than one hour at the podiatric surgeon's office. Laser surgery, because it requires special equipment, may be performed at a hospital.

Partial Nail Removal:
Complete removal of the nail plate is a common remedy for fungal infections and ingrown nails.During this procedure, the nail plate is removed and the nail matrix is destroyed by one of three methods:

Phenol:
An acidic chemical called phenol is applied only to the nail matrix. This destroys the growth cells of the nail.

Surgical removal:
The nail matrix and bed is cut away. Stitches are only occasionally necessary.

Laser: 
A form of burning in which laser heat is focused on the matrix cells.

Removal of Bone Overgrowth Bone directly beneath the nail plate may become enlarged, developing a spur or outgrowth that can deform the nail plate or lead to an ingrown nail.Removal of excess bone may be performed concurrently with surgery to partially or permanently remove the nail plate.

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