Common Toenail Problems and Solutions

Toenail problems can happen to anyone with even a single toenail. Feet, particularly toes, endure mountains of wear and tear, so it's natural that there might be an occasional problem. The key is to recognize the problem and treat it accordingly, before any serious complications arise.

Ingrown Toenails
An ingrown toenail is when the edges of the toenail grow into the skin. It inflames the effected skin and can cause pain, especially when walking. If left untreated, the inflamed skin becomes highly prone to infection.

To treat an ingrown toenail, you must first stop wearing any binding or ill-fitted shoes. Wash your feet well at least two times a day, and wear socks to help keep them dry and clean. A doctor may need to clip part of your nail to remove the problem edges. This nail removal should only be done by a doctor, using toe nail clippers to do it yourself can lead to serious infection.

Fungal Infections
A fungal infection in your toenail can be a rather ugly site. A fungal infection can cause discoloration, thickening of the toenail and even a slight foul odor. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the nail bed.

To treat a minor fungal infection, you need to gently wash and dry your feet two times a day. An antifungal ointment or powder should be applied to the clean area, after which you need to slip on a pair of socks to keep the area clean and dry. For a major fungal infection, it's best to see a doctor.

Black and Blue Toenails
Black and blue toenails are very rarely actually caused by toenail problems. The black and blue discoloration is usually caused by some sort of trauma to the nail bed. The blood and fluid builds up under the nail, causing the discoloration.

As long as your black and blue toenail causes no pain, there's no need to worry. As the nail grows out, it will take the dried blood and fluid with it. In time the black and blue area will grow out completely, leaving a clean and healthy nail behind. If the area is causing actual pain, it's best to see a doctor. 

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