Toenails and doornails are often known to be dead. Door nails will not be covered here, but toe nails are a horse of another color, so to speak.
At some point in our lives, most people will experience the loss of a toenail or damage it.
The most common cause is trauma to the nail, which is known as a subungual hematoma.
While most would associate the word, trauma, with a train wreck or auto accident, the word also applies to the ramifications of wearing shoes that are too tight and can often result in blisters under the nail.
Shoes that exert too much pressure on the toes, such as high heels, can cause a nail to loosen with every step you take.
Toes can also be damaged via trauma caused by auto immune diseases, like psoriasis and failed fungal treatments.
Although over time a damaged nail will likely fall off on its own and grow back with a new healthy nail, if the memory part of the nail, which is known as the root or matrix is damaged, the new growth can be abnormal, slightly discolored and thickened.
For those gifted with do-it-yourself talents, it is not good idea to try them here because you are likely to cause serious complications and damage to the nail bed that could result in making things much worse.
If you live in southern Florida or anywhere in the United States and beyond, the place to go for help is JAWS Podiatry, where this and other foot and ankle problems can be addressed professionally and dead toenails rest in peace forever.
How Can You Tell If Your Toenail Is Dead?
Some indications that your toenail is dead can include: changes in nail color from pink to black.
The affected nail may at first appear to look reddish, purple or brown before it finally turns black.
Pain is also common during early stages, but it is likely to abate within a few hours or days.
If the pain does not subside and signs of infection, such as: swelling, pus or redness are present, contact the podiatrists at JAWS immediately.
Dealing With The Problem Of A Dead Toenail
Correcting the issue of removing a dead toe nail is no easy task.
Our experts at JAWS Podiatry know that even though each person is different, toenails with extreme damage from auto immune diseases such as psoriasis or other treatments can become unsightly to behold and can lead to a permanent problem.
Discoloration, curving and the accumulation of debris can occur underneath the nail.
A significant degree of pain when wearing shoes also happens, depending on the severity of the condition.
Treatment options usually involve the removal of the toenail and the two most common procedures can be performed by our teams in office.
The first is temporary, and allows the nail to grow back. The other, which is known as a matrixectomy, is more permanent, and calls for killing the toe nail via the application of a chemical known as phenol.
This is known to be 85% effective in ensuring that the nail will not darken your foot (or door step) ever again.
Once complete, the patient goes home, rests, applies ice and elevates the foot. Luke warm water soaks are recommended for the following day.
Patients must be vigilant and keep the affected area clean to prevent the onset of infection.
3 Interesting Facts About Toenails (Dead and Otherwise)
Toenails Are Basically Human Claws
Just think about that for a moment. Both toenails and animal claws are composed of the protein, keratin.
They are a kind of armor, so to speak, because in both cases, they protect the toe (or paw) from injury.
While the nails do not have nerve endings per se, they do serve to augment the sensitivity of the toe tips and their mobility.
Men Are More Likely To Develop Fungal Toe Nail Infections
Men are up to three times more likely than women to contract the most common toe nail infection; namely, Onychomycosis.
Research has not yet yielded a clear explanation as to why this is the case, but this infection is most often found in senior citizens.
Toenails May Appear To Be Clean But They Aren’t
Dead skin cells, debris, fungi, bacteria and residue from lotions lurk underneath, our toenails, but they are not visible to the naked eye.
Your Cosmetic And Functional Foot and Ankle Specialists
Specialists in any type of foot pain under the sun, we are a cutting edge lower extremity center headed by Dr. Abraham Wagner, one of South Florida’s most highly acclaimed Doctor of Pediatric Medicine (DPM).
Both he and our family of highly trained and dedicated professionals share a collective mission that ensures no patient should ever have to live with foot pain or permit an issue involving feet to interfere with the precious quality of life.
Situated in Hollywood, Florida, our scope of services cover patients living throughout Florida and other counties beyond.
There are, however, many patients who travel from other parts of the country to experience our stellar customer service and superior level of expertise.
Creativity not only sets us apart, but also makes us shine in the eyes of our grateful patients.
Our deep and abiding connection to what they do is mirrored in every procedure we perform and the positive feedback we receive about how lives and feet have been transformed!
Toenail removal surgery is always a last resort, and conservative methods are considered first before suggesting even minimally invasive surgery.
If you have concerns about a toenail that just doesn’t look right and is causing you pain, discuss the possibility of removing the nail with Dr Wagner and our caring staff.
Spring is here and sandal season is fast upon us, so time is a-wasting.
Call JAWS Podiatry today at (954) 922-7333 or send us a message to schedule a consultation!
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