Have your toenails thickened? Are they discolored or misshapen? Have they become brittle and crumbly? Why do you have these issues? You’re more likely to develop problems with your nails if you have a weakened immune system.
From her practice in Dallas, Texas, Francine Rhinehart, DPM, is the expert you want to see if you have nail issues. Nail problems can signify a more serious health condition. Early treatment is key, especially if you find that your health is compromised. Following are some health conditions that can affect your toenails.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, regular appointments with a foot care specialist are necessary. Aside from the possibility of serious foot wounds and neuropathy, you want to avoid nail fungus.
Toenail fungus is contagious; you might pick it up from walking around a swimming pool or other common areas. People with a normal immune system can fight off the fungal spores commonly found in locker rooms or other moist environments.
If you have diabetes, you’re at greater risk of infections, including a bacterial infection in your foot. A fungal infection in a toenail can lead to athlete’s foot and sores on your foot that don’t heal — even amputation.
Toenail fungus is approximately twice as likely to occur in people with diabetes. In the general population, one out of every two people over age 70 may be affected with toenail fungus. If nail fungus is caught early, it’s much easier to treat.
Dr. Rhinehart uses the Q-Clear™ laser, which has revolutionized the standard of care for nail fungus. Using the laser’s light to target the fungus, your treatment is complete in one session in most cases. The actual treatment only takes a few minutes.
Clinical studies on the Q-clear laser show significant improvement in 95% of patients, with no side effects. Other lasers aren’t able to penetrate your nail completely.
Dr. Rhinehart recommends special diabetic shoes that provide extra cushioning for her diabetic patients. She also regularly treats diabetic wounds and neuropathy resulting from diabetes.
Autoimmune diseases can affect your nails in various ways. If you have alopecia or Hashimoto’s disease, your nails can become shaped like a spoon in a concave position. Alopecia can also cause your nails to become weak and crumbly. With Hashiomoto’s, your nails may start splitting easily.
Psoriatic arthritis or lupus can make your toenails abnormally thick. They may even start separating from your nail bed. If you develop lupus, your nails may have spots. People with lupus often have excessively thick or rough nail folds and cuticles with hyperpigmentation.
Dr. Rhinehart can use KeryFlex® to improve the appearance of toenails with problems. KeryFlex is a special medical resin that she applies to create normal looking nails. Your nails continue to grow under the resin.
If you observe any of these issues, schedule a consultation with Dr. Rhinehart today. Call our office or book an appointment online today for all your foot and ankle needs.