Getting Nailed

These are weighty times in which we live. The country and world are out of control, the election is a disaster, apparently we did something uncool to the ozone layer, and I think the Stanley Cup finals are over. But this being the beginning of summer, let’s talk about- wait for it- toenails!

Well kids and dear NYC podiatry patients, it’s time to start exposing your toes once again. Not so fast, men, save those flip flops for the gym shower, IMHO. But no matter your gender, or gender proclivity as it were in these most confusing times, as the weather gets warm and the socks come off, nails get more attention. And some of you may have a nail or two that is not quite runway ready.

Yellow, dark or thick nails may all be an indication of fungus, as we have previously covered in these hallowed halls. However they may also not be an indication of fungus. Nails grow from a matrix of cells at the base of the toe, and being on the bottom end of the body can also be in the receiving end of trauma - not necessarily an anvil falling on the toe, it can be something as unremarkable as a tight shoe or long run. If the nail matrix is permanently damaged, the nail will grow in thick or discolored, mimicking a fungus. Unfortunately, the treatment options for a thick non-fungal nail are quite limited, and are generally aimed at the aesthetics. If there is a secondary fungal infection, it can be effectively treated, but it will not necessarily improve the appearance of the nail in a meaningful way. Even minor trauma that causes the nail plate to separate from the skin can lead to discoloration of the nail, although this is usually temporary, lasting until the new nail grows in, which typically happens within about six months. Either way it’s a good idea to have a nail abnormality evaluated as the presence of fungus can be easily confirmed, and an isolated dark spot, while typically the sign of a bruise under the nail, can in rare cases signify something more ominous.

Warning: shameless plug alert! There is a nice cosmetic workaround for a short thick nail. Keryflex is a terrific nail resin that fills in the gaps in the nail, restoring the appearance while the new nail grows in, or doesn’t grow in. Of course this is available at your local NYC podiatry office, just in time for summer. And for a low low price you too can ditch those water shoes at the beach and once again display your toenails to the world. It’s not world peace, but at least we can solve something.

See you in the office.

Ernest Isaacson

Author
Ernest Isaacson Dr. Ernest Isaacson is a graduate of the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. After completing two years of comprehensive training in various medical specialties including internal medicine, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, vascular surgery, plastic surgery and podiatric medicine, Dr. Isaacson completed a comprehensive one-year podiatric surgical residency. Dr. Isaacson is active in research and publication in basic and clinical science. Dr. Isaacson is also a dedicated family man who enjoys running, reading and spending time with his family.

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