Toenails are more susceptible to fungal infection (onychomycosis) and are harder to manage than those of fingernails. This is due to the fact that toes are subjected to more pressure by shoes and walking. Wearing shoes that are too small for your feet and not keeping your feet dry are the major reasons for infection with fungi. There are several facts on fungal and ingrown nail treatment Grand Prairie patients may be interested in If suffering from any of these conditions.
The underlying factor in nail infection is damage to the overlying skin exposing deeper structures to the outside non-sterile environment. This is illustrated in the fact that most victims have a history of wearing shoes that do not properly fit them. In the long run, the feet develop infection secondary to peeling off of the skin due to too much friction. People living with uncontrolled diabetes are particularly more susceptible.
In grown nails(or onychocryptosis) may also be caused by wearing undersize shoes. Cutting the nails too short or without an accurate straight outline is another well-known risk factor. Research has shown that some people are naturally born with nails that tend to grow inwards. Other causes include repeated trauma, especially amongst sportsmen, obesity and excessive sweating between toes and fingers.
Abnormal discolouration of nails is one common pointer to fungal infection. The nails may be brittle and some of them appear eaten up. The affected individual may also experience redness, swelling and oozing of pus from the affected site. The condition is usually a clinical diagnosis but can be confirmed through a laboratory test that entails the scraping of dead tissues from the affected nail and examining under the microscope. This also helps in ruling out other conditions such as tumours .
The basic management principle here is employing the proper approach to trimming the nails. One should be patient enough to allow the nails to grow out first before a trim. Precision is key when doing a trim; the nails are supposed to have a smooth and straight outline all across.
When conservative measures fail to alleviate the problem, surgery is indicated. Surgery usually only takes a few minutes. The operation entails detachment, removing the matrix and total nail resection, among other options depending on the severity of the condition. Nail removal helps a great deal in preventing recurrence. A localized form of anesthesia is used to minimize pain during the procedure. It should be noted that surgery can result in new infections if sterile measures are not observed.
One of the complications of ingrown nails is infection of surrounding tissues. If untreated, it can result in nail dystrophy (wasting away) and skin and bone infection (cellulitis and osteomyelitis respectively). Antibiotics should be given if there is an accompanying bacterial infection. Otherwise, topical and oral antifungal agents are used. An example of a common antifungal with good response is terbinafine.
All in all, preventive measures come first in managing these infections and ingrown toenails. People living with diabetes are encouraged to provide proper care of their feet. The area in between the nails should be given enough attention when cleaning. Avoid walking with bare feet in public areas. Also footwear should be free of moisture and if socks are worn, those made of cotton are recommended.
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