Diabetes & Your Feet Part 3: Nail Fungus & Ingrown Nails

In our next blog entry about diabetes and its effects on feet we will discuss 2 problems that affect non diabetics regularly as well, nail fungus and ingrown nails.

Nail fungus is actually a very common foot problem, and it is more likely to occur in older patients than younger ones. This is primarily due to the body’s decreased immune system response that naturally occurs with age. Diabetics in particular are very prone to nail fungus because of their decreased immune system response and decreased vascularity (blood flow). Nail fungus can appears as discolored, thick or even brittle nails. It usually occurs on one toe first, commonly the big toe, but can easily spread to other toenails. While there are several oral medications that can help combat toenail fungus, unfortunately these medications are usually not recommended for diabetics as they can affect liver function. Topical medications exist as well, but the treatment that is most effective on fungal toenails is laser treatment. Laser treatment allows for the destruction of fungal cells while healthy tissue remains unharmed.

Ingrown nails are another very common foot problem for patient of all ages, but pose a particular danger to diabetics. An ingrown nail occurs when the side of the nail starts to grow into the toe. This normally causes pain which draws attention to the nail. The danger with ingrown nails and diabetics is that some diabetics suffer from neuropathy, causing a loss of sensation in the feet. This numbness means that some diabetics cannot feel the pain caused by an ingrown nail, which means the nail may go untreated. Untreated ingrown nails are a major danger because they can become easily infected.

Diabetics need to take extra care when it comes to foot health. The podiatrists at Ankle & Foot Associates, LLC are experienced with treating diabetics and their particular foot problems. If you or a loved one is a diabetic in need of regular foot care Ankle & Foot has 17 locations throughout Georgia and South Carolina to better serve you.

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