17 Oct How Long Does it Take for Toenails to Grow?
Treat Toenail Troubles Now
With cold weather on the horizon, you probably haven’t given a thought to foot problems like fungal nails, ingrown nails, and other toenail troubles. After all, your feet are going to be bundled up for a while. But this is actually the best time to start taking care of those tootsies if you want to show them off in the coming summer months.
Did you know that it takes about a full year for a toenail to grow? If you have a toenail that’s been battered, bruised or hit by nail fungus, you need time to let it grow back strong and healthy.
What are Toenails Made of?
Toenails, like fingernails, are made up of keratin, a protein produced in the body from dead cells. Keratin is also the main component of hair.
How Do Healthy Toenails Look?
Healthy toenails have a smooth surface and no ridges. They look pink or nude in color with no ridges or discoloration. Watch for these warning signs that your toenails need medical attention.
Yellowing nails. This is an early sign of onychomycosis or fungal nail.
Thick, brittle toenails. If your toenails seem to have gotten thicker and they “crumble” when you cut or file them, you probably have an advanced case of nail fungus.
Most home remedies and over-the-counter treatments for nail fungus don’t work. Only a podiatrist can prescribe the correct treatments to clear the fungus and heal your nails.
When treating nail fungus, a podiatrist will sometimes file the afflicted nail down to a thin layer and prescribe a topical treatment. In some cases, you’ll need to have the entire toenail removed to allow a fresh one to grow in.
Black toenails. A dark, discolored toenail could be a subungual hematoma, which is a bruise on the nail bed under the toe. It’s usually the result of trauma to your foot.
In some cases, the toenail will fall off and a new one will grow in. You should still see a foot care doctor because subungual hematoma often means there is damage to the nail bed. Black toenails can also indicate a nail fungus or an underlying melanoma.
Ingrown nail. This painful condition occurs when a nail is growing outward and digging into the skin of the next toe. You can protect your toe with padding or bandages until you can see a doctor. A podiatrist can cut down the nail and splint it to encourage straight regrowth.
Get an Early Start on Summer
To treat some of these toenail treatments, a podiatrist will often cut down the toenail or remove it. That’s why winter care is important. Your toenails need time to grow back.
Get a head start on summer by taking care of your toenails now. Start with a visit to the podiatrist and make sure to follow up with good foot care at home. By the time summer hits, your toenails will be strong, smooth and healthy.
Tips for Toenail Care
1. Wash your feet and toes with warm, soapy water and a mild soap. Dry them before putting on socks and shoes.
2. Only trim your toenails straight across. Cutting into the sides of your nails can lead to ingrown toenails. Finish with a light filing to remove any snags.
3. Don’t cut or push back your cuticles. They’re there to protect your nail bed from infection.
4. Moisturize. Regularly moisturizing your feet will keep your foot skin healthy and your toenails supple. It also heals cracked, dry skin. Cracked skin allows infections and viruses to seep into your toes.
5. Treat corns and calluses. Use a pumice stone and moisturize regularly to keep rough patches at bay. If you have painful corns or excessive calluses that don’t respond to at-home treatments, contact a podiatrist.
Get Expert Foot Help
Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine is Loudoun County’s premier foot health clinic. If you need help getting your toenails in tip-top shape, contact us today to schedule a foot care examination. Summer will be here before you know it.