Toenail pain can be extremely frustrating and debilitating to deal with. From feeling uncomfortable in your footwear to feeling sharp stabs of pain when pressure is applied: toenail pain is certainly trying.
But what exactly is causing your toenail pain, and when should you see your podiatrist for relief? Today, we’ll be discussing four common reasons.
1. Ingrown toenails
Ingrown toenails can be super painful. They’re usually caused by the incorrect cutting of the nails, but sometimes, injuries or even ill-fitting shoes can be to blame.
If left untreated, ingrown toenails can be very uncomfortable. And if severe enough, they can also lead to infections like paronychia (which we’ll discuss later on in today’s post).
So, when should you see your podiatrist? If your ingrown toenail is causing you a lot of pain and is showing signs of infection (like feeling warm, or looking red and swollen), give your podiatrist a call.
If you have a condition like diabetes, it’s important that you visit your podiatrist or doctor straight away.
2. Toenail Trauma
Toenail trauma can be caused by so many different factors: whether it be stubbing your toe (ouch!), dropping something heavy on your foot or even wearing ill-fitting shoes.
Bruising and mild pain are common symptoms to experience after the above events, however, if your pain is severe, you should visit your podiatrist for treatment recommendations.
To ease any mild symptoms at home, make sure to keep your foot elevated to decrease the swelling, and take over the counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and paracetamol.
3. Fungal Infections
Fungal infections can affect your toenails or the skin on your feet and toes.
Toenail fungus has an odour, and also discolours nails and makes them brittle, so it’s quite easy to spot. Eventually, your nail will become thicker and the edges will easily crumble away. Fungus is highly contagious, so it’s easy for you to accidentally pass it along from toe to toe.
There are many toenail fungus treatments available on the high street, but it’s best to see your podiatrist who will be able to recommend the correct treatment for you for the speediest recovery.
Paronychia usually affects fingernails, but can also affect toenails, too. It’s an infection that affects the skin around your nails, and can progress to cellulitis in more severe cases. It causes pain and inflammation, and can really be quite bothersome.
Paronychia can develop after suffering trauma to your toenail, or through an untreated ingrown toenail. As mentioned above, if you have a condition like diabetes, it’s really important to see your doctor or podiatrist at the first sign of infection.
Often, soaking the affected toenail in warm water for 20 minutes a few times a day can help ease any discomfort and help you to heal. But, if you do notice signs of an abscess, you will need to seek medical care to check whether you need to have the abscess drained.
Cellulitis is classed as a serious complication, and warrants immediate medical care. Look out for signs such as pain, redness and warmth in the area, along with other symptoms like nausea, chills and a fever. If in any slight doubt, call a medical professional immediately.
Sometimes, you may be experiencing toenail pain as a symptom of a completely separate condition. Chronic illnesses like arthritis, or even psoriasis can cause toenail pain. If at all you feel unsure or concerned, visit your podiatrist who will be able to diagnose you and recommend the best treatment to have you pain-free once again.
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