Why Are My Toenails Ugly?

Dr. Meredith Explains Your Ugly Toenails

It's not just fungus! 

Why are my toenails looking so ugly?

People come in very, very concerned about this and there is good merit to be concerned about. An ugly toenail could be an indicator of many different things, but most people come in convinced that they have a fungus. What we try to do here is do a careful evaluation of the toenail, perform testing that we do from an outside laboratory. After we take a small sample of the toenail, oftentimes we find that about 40 percent of the time the nail is not a fungal toenail!

The ugly toenail could be a damaged toenail and not need treatment as far as the medication goes. In addition, we also look at the adjacent skin find that there's a high association between fungal toenails and people with excessive perspiration or sweaty feet and people who have athlete's feet or a history of athlete's feet. It's imperative that we treat that, because the skin adjacent to the toenail is normally what infects the toenail in the first place. Fungus likes a hot, dark, warm, moist environment; so there's nothing better than a hot, sweaty shoe! People tend to rush out of the shower or not try their feet thoroughly and put their wet foot into a damp shoe that was sweated in the day before. This only leads to infection of the skin. That leads to subsequent infection of the toenail.

If you do have a fungus in your toenail, 70% of the time the treatment that we render will get rid of the fungus but unfortunately, 50% of the time the fungus comes back again. So we're real meticulous here to make sure that we give you a program that not only gets you better but it keeps you better down the road. Moisture management protocol and an athlete's foot protocol.

These infections tend to be chronic and recurrent, so we do offer other treatments besides medication. There are some surgical options; there are some laser options. What we do is identify what the problem is with the toenail before we begin to treat it. We look for adjacent factors such as a sweaty foot but there could be other factors contributing. We take a holistic view and address all the items that could be positive.

Make an appointment today if your toenails are ugly and we'll give you a complete evaluation and tailor a treatment plan for you.

Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists

251 Wilmot Drive
Gastonia, NC 28054