Toenail Care The House Call Podiatrist Trimming thick painful toenails can be nearly impossible for older adults. Even the spouse of someone with thick toenails can find the task daunting. The last you thing you want to is hurt someone you love by cutting the nails too close. One New Jersey podiatrist found that so many people needed the convenience of nail care at home, that he started a house call podiatry practice, just to fill the need. He now drives all New Jersey to provide podiatry services. Understanding Thick, Painful and Ugly Toenails: The toenail grows out from the matrix, or root of the nail. The shape of the toenail matrix determines the shape if the nail plate itself. If the toenail gets repeatedly bumped against the inside of the shoe, the matrix tissue may get smashed and become deformed. If the matrix becomes thick, the toenail will then grow out thicker. Causes of Fungal Toenails: Onychomycosis (the medical term of toenail fungus) is usually caused by t. rubrum or t. mentagenophytes. Like other types of fungus, it thrives in an environment that is dark, warm and moist. Shoes are the perfect home for fungus. The inside of the shoe is dark (because it is enclosed), warm (because your feet are about 98 degrees) and moist (because your feet sweat and the shoes hold the moisture). If you wear the same pair if shoes to work every day, they may never dry out completely. They are almost like incubators for fungus. Symptoms of Onychomycosis (Fungal Toenail): Toenails that are infected with fungus are usually discolored (yellow, white, grey or brown). Toenails with fungus usually have cracking, and peeling. They are more friable. They also often smell bad. Lots of fungal debris (white or yellow crud) will collect under the end of the nail plate. The fungal toenails themselves are not necessarily painful. However, as they get progressively thicker, they can push down into the nail grooves beside the nail and cause painful ingrown toenails. The thick nails may also press inside the shoes and cause pain. Dr. Joseph Signorile 908-755-4200 Treatment: Depending on the severity and thickness of the thickened toenail, a number of treatments might be recommended. For many patients, just trimming the thick toenails every month or two to prevent them from becoming too thick and uncomfortable is enough. If the concern is the unsightly nature of the nail, medications like Lamisil might be prescribed. There are also conservative treatments that have some promise in helping to treat the toenail infection without medications. Copyright © Joseph Signorile P.C. 2011 Call Now for your house call: 908-755-4200