Published on Nov 18, 2016, modified on May 21, 2019 by Dr. Solomon (Podiatrist), Manhattan Foot Specialists

Toenail Problems

Toenail Problems Foot Doctor NYC

Toenails serve a number of important purposes. Mostly, they protect the sensitive skin on the ends of your toes and the delicate bones underlying your nail from getting damaged when you stub your toes, wear tight-fitting shoes or drop something on top of your foot.

Of the many toenail problems you might bring to your Manhattan foot doctor, one of the most common is toenail fungus. NYC podiatrists see this and other toenail issues in people of all ages, but by and large, a greater number of elderly people have some level of pain or discomfort related to their toenails.

Toenail problems should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your local podiatry doctors for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any underlying serious condition.

Typical Podiatrist Visits

More people than you think are concerned with their toenail health! Your foot doctor in New York City sees many patient’s toenails for:

  • Injuries
  • Eczema, psoriasis or other skin diseases
  • Infections
  • Poorly fitting shoes
  • Inadequate circulation
  • Lack of sufficient nerve supply
  • Iron deficiency
  • Arthritis

Some of the most common toenail conditions that your leading NYC podiatrist Dr. Solomon treats include:

  • Nail discoloration
  • Bacterial infections
  • Split or brittle nails
  • Thickened nails
  • Lifted nail plate from the skin
  • Fungus
  • Inflammation in the skin surrounding the toenail
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Trauma
  • Tumors

Nail Structures

Keratin is the protein that makes up the bulk of the material in your nails. Your hair and skin are made from the same substance. Toenails are formed by cells that multiply within the skin on the ends of your toes and fingers. As it continues to grow, it hardens, forming the layers that make up your nails. The process is called keratinisation.

Your nails’ thickness, strength and rate of growth are passed down through your genes. But these things can also be influenced by diet and certain medical conditions.  As our body ages, your toenail growth tends to slow down and our nails may become brittle. Nails also get thicker and discolored as you get older and these changes are exaggerated in those with circulatory issues.

Rundown of Serious Toenail Conditions

A foot doctor is trained on the treatment of toenail problems, so don’t hesitate to visit your best rated podiatrists team with any issues that arise or when changes in your nail occur. While they may seem minor and aren’t really causing you too much discomfort, if you catch problem toenails in the early stages, you may have a better chance of finding permanent relief with the help of your podiatrist in New York. Call for an appointment if you experience:

  • Dark discoloration and pain, which could indicate that you have a tumor. Melanoma of the skin underneath your nails is not as uncommon as you may think.
  • Changes in your nails’ shape that could be caused by an iron deficiency that eventually affects other systems on your body.
  • Grooves or pits on your nails that might be a sign of an underlying skin condition.
  • Ridges or lifting of the nail from the top of a toe. This could be a sign that you had a serious trauma to the toe and should be examined
  • Flaking, streaky discoloration, discharge with an offensive odor or thick nails that could mean you have a fungus. It may also be a more serious complication like a bacterial infection. If you have a compromised immune system or diabetes, you are more prone to toenail fungus that can be quite serious and requires immediate remediation by your podiatrist.
  • Pus and inflammation, signs of a bacterial infection that could worsen if left untreated.

All symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any underlying serious condition.

Various Potential Causes of Toenail Problems

While many toenail problems stem from inherited tendencies or underlying diseases such as heart, lung, kidney or liver disease, or cancer, lifestyle habits also contribute to a wide range of toenail conditions that are treatable by your foot doctor in Manhattan. These causes include:

  • Harsh chemicals from nail polish and polish removers
  • Infections picked up at nail salons
  • Overzealous cutting and nail filing
  • Neglect
  • Ill-fitting footwear
  • Poor walking posture
  • Not drying your feet completely

Other, underlying medical conditions also lead to toenail pain and discomfort. When you visit your podiatry doctor in NYC, make sure to provide a thorough list of medical treatments and conditions you’ve been diagnosed with. Sometimes, even certain medications can cause toenail problems. Common conditions that your Manhattan podiatry doctor observes regularly include:

  • Anemia
  • Fever
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Peripheral vascular disease

Diagnosis Is Important

Some toenail problems can be corrected by lifestyle changes but nail changes should at least have an initial evaluation by a doctor.  Before you undertake any self-administered treatment, visit your podiatrist to confirm your suspicions.

A quick exam by your podiatry specialist may be all that you need to get you on course for better nail health. If the cause of your toenail problems isn’t immediately obvious through an exam and complete history, your New York City podiatrist may take a scraping of the skin underneath your nails and nail clippings for further analysis in a lab.

All symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any underlying serious condition.

Treatments Available

Your podiatrist is equipped to provide you with a number of alternatives to treat your toenail issues, including:

  • Antibiotics for a bacterial infection
  • Anti-fungal medication
  • Appropriate treatment or a referral for an underlying condition
  • Laser treatments

Your foot doctor also can advise you on the best home-care steps you should take, such as:

  • Instructions on how to clip your toenails straight across. Many podiatrists also offer nail care in the office, especially if you are elderly and have thickened nails, have difficulty reaching your nails or have other issues that require experienced clipping services.
  • Changing the types of shoes you wear to those with a wider toe box. They don’t put pressure on your toenails and exacerbate existing problems.
  • Tips on how to clean underneath your nails.
  • Avoiding harsh chemicals, possibly even switching to a milder soap.
  • Stopping smoking, which can drastically improve your circulation.
  • Wearing shower shoes in public places like fitness centers, pools and spas.
  • Don’t share towels, nail clippers or linens with anyone you think may have an infection.

Thoroughly dry your feet after bathing, being especially vigilant to dry between your toes.

Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult your foot doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced podiatrist or foot specialist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Do you have any questions about Toenail Problems and it’s treatment in NYC? Would you like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized, top rated NYC podiatry doctor, Dr. Sophia Solomon of Manhattan Podiatry?  Please contact our office for a consultation.

Manhattan Foot Specialists
Dr. Sophia Solomon, Podiatrist (NYC Foot Doctor)

51 East 25th Street, Ste 409
New York, NY 10010

(Between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
(212) 389-9918

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a best in class podiatrist regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a foot doctor or call our office today and schedule a consultation with the leading foot surgeon Dr. Sophia Solomon.