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- What is Toenail Disease?
- What Causes Toenail Disease?
- Symptoms of Toenail Disease
- Treatment for Toenail Disease
- Help for Toenail Disease
What is Toenail Disease?
Toenails are composed of layers of keratin, a hardened protein also found in the hair and skin. The nails protect the tissues of the toes and fingers. There are several conditions that affect the nails and many of them can provide clues to your overall health. Healthy nails are smooth and evenly colored. Discoloration, changes in texture and growth rate can indicate various health problems.
Common nail diseases that require medical treatment include bacterial and fungal infections, ingrown toenails and warts. Paronychia is a common toenail infection that occurs when trauma to the skin around the nail leads to infection. This happens when cuticles are trimmed or pushed back too far leading to small cuts.
What Causes Toenail Disease?
Most toenail diseases are caused by fungal or bacterial infection and affect the nail and surrounding skin folds. Other diseases are triggered by trauma to the nail or surrounding skin. Ingrown toenails, for example, often result from wearing ill-fitting or pointy-toed shoes that create deformities and pressure in the nails. Other toenail diseases have a genetic component and are passed down.
Symptoms of Toenail Disease
Toenail symptoms include irregularities like changes in color, texture, shape and size. Trenches that run across the nail are called Beau's lines. Onycholysis is a separation of the nail from the skin beneath. Pitting, ridges and clubbing are also common signs of disease.
Toenail infections are often distinguishable by swelling, redness and inflammation in the skin around the nail. Pain in the toenail when pressure is applied also signals probable infection. Clear or yellowish fluid coming from around the nail is common with ingrown toenails.
Treatment for Toenail Disease
Treatment for toenail disease depends on the cause. Bacterial and fungal diseases require medication to cure the infection. Ingrown toenails may be filed down or cut back with a minor surgical procedure to encourage normal growth. In rare cases, infections or ingrown toenails may be severe enough to require complete removal of the nail.
Minor toenail conditions can often be treated at home with foot soaks in warm salt water, elevation and application of topical remedies. Most toenail diseases are preventable with good hygiene practices. Keeping nails clean and dry before wearing shoes and keeping nails trimmed can help prevent infections that cause toenail disease.
Help for Toenail Disease
It is important to keep infection from forming and growing on toenails. Natural antiseptics like oregano oil and tea tree oil can relieve pain and kill fungus. Rub the oil into the affected area daily after washing and thoroughly drying the nails. Applying a natural remedy like Toenail Fungus Zapper to the nails daily can help prevent infection.