Your Skin & Nails
Common Nail/Skin Issues
Nails whose corners or sides dig painfully into the skin. Ingrown toenails are frequently caused by improper nail trimming, but also by shoe pressure, injury, fungus infection, heredity and poor foot structure.
Women are 50% more likely to have ingrown toenails than men. Can be prevented by trimming toenails straight across, selecting proper shoe style and size - not too tapered or shallow - and paying special attention to foot pain
Tinea Pedis, more commonly known as athlete's foot, is an infection that's caused by fungus. The typical symptoms are an itchy and red rash that usually affects the soles of the feet and between the toes. Chronic tinea pedis causes a scaly rash that can be mistaken for dry skin, whereas acute tinea pedis can cause a painful, red, and blistering rash.
The medical term for a wart is verruca plantaris. Warts, or verruca, can be small, singular lesions or large ones that cluster together. They are generally circular and occur on the soles (plantar surface) or sides of the feet. They are often mistaken for a corn or callus because they can have a similar hardened appearance on the surface. The difference is that warts are caused by a virus and can, and therefore, are more difficult to eradicate.
Bacterial infections of the feet have a variety of presentations. The skin surrounding the toenails are among the most common areas for bacterial infections. An ingrown toenail often leads to a bacterial infection, especially if left untreated. Sometimes bacterial infections are mistaken for athlete's foot because they may have a similar red or painful rash. Certain bacterial infections can spread quickly and require immediate care, especially when associated with a wound.
A toenail fungal infection, or onychomycosis, is a common problem. The classic signs of onychomycosis are nail thickening, discoloration, and changes to the nail's texture – such as flakiness or debris. The infection is likely to extend through the entire nail and affect the skin below, which is why onychomycosis can be difficult to clear up. Onychomycosis isn't just a cosmetic concern – it often causes pain arising from excess shoe pressure and in some cases creates susceptibility to bacterial infection.
Corns & Calluses
Corns and calluses are thickened areas of the skin's uppermost layer or stratum corneum. They develop in response to areas of excess pressure against the skin, such as on the toes, under the ball of the foot or heel areas. Sometimes corns can entrap tiny blood vessels or nerves, which makes them either painful or bleed easily when shaved down. Where a corn or callus develops on your feet often points to what type of foot problem you have.
Toenail trauma may happen from repetitive rubbing against the shoe when walking or running. It may be that your new shoes are too tight or loose, which can lead to more friction against your toe as you work out. It can also be the result of a sudden injury, such as stubbing your toe or dropping an object on it.
In most cases, a black toenail is simply a matter of subungual hematoma, which is blood pooling between the nail and its bed, but discolored nails should still be checked out. One of the possible causes of a black toenail is malignant melanoma. This is very rare, but also very serious, and should be addressed at the earliest stage possible.
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