Toenail problems can be painful, ugly, and embarrassing. For some people the appearance of blackened, yellowed, or swollen toenails can be quite distressing and keep them from wearing open-toed shoes. If you have diabetes or an otherwise compromised immune system, they could also pose more serious health risks, too.
Dr. Daniel J. Walters and our team are committed to providing the best possible toenail care so that you can eliminate pain, minimize the risks of infection or complications, and finally feel good about your feet again. The two most common nail conditions we treat at our Garfield Ridge podiatry office are ingrown toenails and fungal toenails.
Ingrown toenails are a common problem that can run in families and can be caused by either genetic factors or injury. In this condition, a corner or edge of a toenail (typically on your big toe) starts growing into the surrounding skin, resulting in redness, swelling, and sometimes severe pain. Ingrown toenails can easily become infected, especially if you have diabetes. However, they can be treated relatively quickly and painlessly, so you should always seek treatment right away.
In our office, we use a procedure known as radiowave treatment to fix ingrown toenails. This state-of-the-art technology uses high frequency radio waves to trim away a small portion of the ingrown nail edge without making an incisions, in a manner similar to certain types of laser surgeries.
Radiowave has many advantages over other methods. The procedure itself is usually painless (a local anesthetic is used) and requires less bandaging, less drainage, and a quicker return to wearing normal shoes versus more traditional ingrown toenail surgery. Because no manual cutting of the skin is required and no incisions are made, it also doesn’t create scar tissue, and there’s less risk of post-surgery pain, infection, or recurrence of the problem.
Fungal toenail infections can be quite unsightly. Caused by the same group of keratin-consuming fungi that lead to athlete’s foot, the infected toe may appear yellow, thickened, brittle, even ragged and warped.
Once the fungus gets under the nail, usually through tiny cuts in the skin, it won’t leave without a fight. The nail provides a virtually limitless supply of nutrients, as well as protection from topical medications, so professional treatment is required to eradicate the problem. If fungal nails are bothering you, make an appointment and we’ll develop a treatment plan based on your needs.
Enjoy Beautiful Feet Year Round with Preventative Care
Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to toenail care. To reduce your risk of developing an ingrown toenail or fungal toenail infection, practice these nail care tips:
- Trim toenails carefully. Don’t angle them and don’t cut them too short—straight across, even with the end of the toe, is best.
- Make sure your socks and shoes fit properly. Very tight footwear, especially in the toe area, can cram nails and cause them to become ingrown.
- Wash your feet daily and pat them dry thoroughly.
- Avoid exposing your feet to humid environments in which fungus thrives. Always wear sandals or shower shoes in public facilities like gyms and pools, and stick with a couple of pairs of breathable everyday shoes that you can rotate, giving each at least a full day to dry out between uses.
- Choose your pedicure provider carefully! Make sure you have an experienced technician at a facility that fully sterilizes all their equipment between uses. For extra security, you can bring your own tools instead.
Nail issues typically get worse, not better, without professional help, but the good news is that treatment doesn’t have to be painful or difficult. If a painful or ugly toenail condition is causing you distress, bring your feet to Dr. Daniel J. Walters in Garfield Ridge, Chicago. Let our team restore those healthy, beautiful nails!
Need to schedule an appointment? No problem! Fill out our online contact form, or give us a call today at (773) 586-0050.