Posted by Jenn F. on Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
With warm weather finally here, some of us are discovering a few old friends we haven’t seen in a while–our toenails!
Yes, after a winter buried in shoes, boots, and warm socks, our little toenail friends have emerged as a happy symbol of summer. But these little…plates? Okay, we’ll go with plates–are not just hanging around waiting for us to put green toenail polish on them. Rather, they are parts of our body, and therefore have their own set of health problems that can crop up and make you wish that they were covered again in those thick, fuzzy socks. We’ve covered some of them in depth before, but I thought this was a good time to have a round-up of toenail information.
So what are toenails? Well, they’re not actually plates, but they do act like plates of armor as they protect the soft tissues at the end of your fingers and toes. They’re made up of layers of keratin, a protein that’s also found in your hair and skin.
What should healthy toenails look like? They should be smooth and one consistent color.
Really? That’s funny, I see some white spots on my nails. Yeah, well, you shouldn’t. White spots on your nails indicate a lack of zinc in your diet. Drinking more milk and eating eggs are good ways to add zinc to your diet. If you have issues with those foods, you can also take zinc supplements.
White spots aren’t the only indicator of a problem–if you notice that your nails are yellow or cracked, then you likely have a fungal infection. If your nails aren’t that far gone and you’re just beginning to suspect that you have a toenail infection, try putting Vick’s Vapor Rub under your toenails, or soak your feet in Listerine (if nothing else, your feet will smell great!). If, however, your nails are thick, cracked, and yellow, then you should really contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) to get an accurate diagnosis of your infection and treatment program (the good news: lasers can knock out some really nasty infections!).
Okay, now that I know all about toenails, what else can I do to make sure they don’t scare me when I look down? Here are some tips that can go a long way to helping your toenails stay something you want to see, not hide.
There, now you’re all set to have a No Toenail Worries Summer! If you do run into any toenail or foot issues, though, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.