Common Toenail Conditions
Our toenails tend to be on the front lines of wherever we move, which can expose them to several painful or unsightly conditions.
A nail becomes ingrown when a corner or edge starts to extend into the skin. This often causes pain, irritation, redness, and swelling.
Ingrown toenails can be the result of tight footwear, improper nail trimming, physical trauma, or simply being born with nails that tend to curve. Most cases are mild and can be treated with conservative measures, but cases that are severe, very painful, might be infected, or keep returning should receive professional care.
Fungal toenails are easily recognized by their discolored, thickened, brittle, and crumbly nature. However, early signs of a fungal infection are much milder: often small white dots or streaks that don’t go away and eventually start to grow.
The sooner that a case of toenail fungus is identified and treated, the easier it tends to be to get rid of it. You can also reduce your risk of toenail fungus by protecting your feet in warm, wet areas that receive a lot of foot traffic, such as public showers and locker rooms.
Common in long-distance runners and other athletes, black toenails are typically the result of your toenails repeatedly sliding into or striking the insides of your shoes. This bruises the nailbed and leads to blood pooling beneath the nail.
In rare cases, a black toenail might be an indication of malignant melanoma, so black toenails are always worth checking out and treating, just in case.