49 Winter St., Weymouth MA 02188
49 Winter St., Weymouth MA 02188
To some, an ingrown toenail may sound like a small problem. But anyone who has felt the exquisite pain that comes with a thin nail edge digging into the flesh, knows that a small toe can create big problems!
People with ingrown toenails have pain when putting on shoes, when walking, and even when the toe is touched or pressed on. This seemingly minor issue causes people to refrain from sports or their normal exercise routine. They may have to wear sandals to work or actually take their shoes off, just to get through a workday. These inconveniences can disrupt a healthy, productive lifestyle.
So you may be wondering why you got an ingrown toenail in the first place. Often, the repetitive microtrauma that the toe goes through on a daily basis is largely to blame. Think of how many times a day your toe rubs or hits the top and/or side of your shoe. The continual pressing or shear on the top and side of the toe and toenail force it downwards and inwards.
Look at your toe. Do you have a callus (skin thickening) on the side? This is a sign of excessive friction, occurring naturally from the way you walk. Or, is your big toe leaning to the side, resting closely to the second toe? The side pressure that occurs with every step becomes significant over time and can actually change the shape of the nail plate. These are just some of the ways that our biomechanics can encourage ingrowns.
Other causes of an ingrown include:
We start with a toenail consult to get to know your feet, your toenails, how long this has been going on, and how it has responded to any treatments in the past. Treatment is initiated right away, to rid you of pain and give a normal, pain-free nail.
Ace Feet offers the newest technology in nail care, including a non-invasive resin treatment that “trains” the nail to grow straight. This treatment helps relieve pain immediately, and has been shown to prevent recurrence.
Whenever possible, the resin treatment is preferred. There is no piercing of the nail bed, no anesthesia, no needles, no side effects, no medication interactions. Applying a resin to the top of the nail is safe for everyone, as no medicine enters the body and there are no invasive or surgical procedures. This means that pregnant women, children, diabetics, people with immunocompromised conditions all can have their painful ingrowns addressed safely.
Of course, sometimes an ingrown toenail leads to infection. There are times when antibiotics are necessary. There are times when the ingrown needs to be removed. Early treatment can avoid these complications, but they do occur. Appropriate treatment may involve nail removal, foot soaks, antibiotic, and a change in shoe style.
Ultimately, an ingrown toenail should be evaluated by a doctor who can diagnose and treat the problem appropriately. If you’re interested in having your toes looked at by the doctor at Ace Feet, book a toenail consultation here.
If you’re embarrassed by discolored, flaking toenails, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that a toenail fungus affects about 20% of all Americans.
But unfortunately, the treatments that have been around a while — oral medications and topical creams — often don’t really do the trick. They are either minimally helpful or don’t work at all. Luckily, laser nail therapy is now an option. THe Pinpointe laser has been FDA approved and is used with success by podiatrists as a safe, quick, effective form of treatment. Read on to learn more about toenail fungus and laser treatment.
Toenail fungus is an infection of the nail plate and nail bed. These areas are infected with microscopic organisms called dermatophytes, sometimes yeast or even less common, mold.
These tiny organisms are in our environment, just like bacteria and viruses. If they settle on the skin of your feet, they can find a happy home in the warm, moist, dark areas at the edge and just beneath your toenail.
A fungal infection can affect your fingernails too. This is less common though, since your hands aren’t confined to a warm, moist environment like your feet are.
A fungal infection often goes unnoticed early on. The infection spreads toward the base of your toe at first. Later on the nail will seem to grow thicker. Early detection and treatment are helpful for a quick resolution of the infection.
Here are some of the symptoms to look out for:
You should have an evaluation by your podiatrist. Often an exam of the skin on your feet and toes is sufficient to diagnose a fungal infection. At Ace Feet, we are able to look at the nail under a dermoscope or do an in office microscopic exam of an under the nail scraping in questionable cases. Both of these tests are painless and take minutes.
Laser devices work by two processes called photothermolysis and photobiomodulation.
Photothermolysis occurs as the laser emits pulses of light energy that target fungal cells and produce heat. In response to the heat, the infected tissue is gasified and decomposed, destroying the fungus and the surrounding skin and nail. The heat from the lasers also has a sterilizing effect, which helps prevent new fungal growth.
Photobiomodulation occurs when the laser applies light energy in the range of the infrared electromagnetic spectrum (870, 930, 1,064 nm) to the nail bed. This stimulates the metabolism of cells, improves microcirculation, and inhibits the fungal multiplication. Laser treatment is associated with high rates of negative cultures—which means that a laboratory microscopic test for a fungal infection typically doesn’t show evidence of infection after treatment.
A toenail consult begins with a discussion of your feet and toenails. We will review how and when the problem started, which treatment you have tried thus far (if any). We will review your medical history, which style shoes you wear regularly (Dress shoes will need to be cleaned differently and more frequently than a breathable sneaker, for example).
Your feet will be examined and evaluated for fungus, ingrown toenails, nail matrix damage, or other issues.
We will review all treatment options and decide which will be best for you. We can start treatment on the same day if you’d like.
Treatment includes toenail trimming and filing.
Laser is then applied as per protocol, to kill the fungus and leave you with clean toenails.
A fungal nail is a damaged, dead nail. The laser will not revive this dead nail but instead will create a clean canvas for your new healthy nail to grow in. During this time you nail beds are vulnerable to reinfection. Having athlete’s foot, wearing shoes all day, sweating in your work shoes or athletic shoes, going to pools or gym lockers, etc all put you at risk for reinfection. To mitigate this, we provide you with an excellent shoe cleaner, and products to keep you feet fungal free as your new nail grows in. We want your toenails to be clean and clear!
You can book an appointment for a toenail consult online, click the “book appointment” button at the top of the page, or contact us if you have any questions.
Fungal nail infections can be difficult to treat. Over the counter medications available at the pharmacy or online are rarely helpful. At home remedies like vinegar or bleach soaks are even less effective. Severe infections, or a fungus that persists for more than a few months often requires medical attention.
You may not be sure which treatment is most appropriate for you. A toenail consultation is ideal for anyone who is unsure of what would be the best way to get rid of their infected toenails. Your doctor can evaluate your toenails as well as the skin on your feet. You can have all of your questions answered about efficacy, safety, medicine side effects, treatment time, etc. The visit is designed to help you come up with the appropriate treatment plan for you.
A fungal toenail describes an infection of the nail plate and the nail bed beneath it. The medical term for a fungal toenail is onychomycosis, or tinea unguium.
Just like bacteria and viruses, fungi are microscopic organisms that pervade our environment. Fungi tend to reside in moist, dark areas and can thrive beneath a nail plate.
There are three kinds of fungi: dermatophytes, yeasts, and nondermatophyte molds. Dermatophytes are by far the most common cause of onychomycosis, although all three can infect the nail.
Small cracks in your nail or the surrounding skin can allow these germs to enter your nail and cause an infection. Over time, even a mild infection will develop and invade further towards the matrix, where the nail originates under the skin. The nail changes color, thickens, lifts off of the nail bed, and even causes serious discomfort! Early detection and treatment is best. The longer the infection has been present in the nail, the longer it will take to get rid of.
Signs of a fungal infection of the nails include:
• Scaling or buildup of skin below the nail
• White, yellow, or darkened streaks on the surface of the nail
• Crumbling or easily broken corners or tips of the toenail
• Flaking areas or pits in the nail’s surface that may be white in color
• Yellow spots on the bottoms of the nails
• Malformed or distorted toenail growth
• Toenails that lift away from the cuticle
• Thickened nails
• Loss of toenails
• Foul odors, pus, and other signs of infection
Risk factors for developing nail fungus include:
• Being older, owing to reduced blood flow, more years of exposure to fungi and slower growing nails
• Sweating heavily
• Having a history of athlete’s foot
• Walking barefoot in damp communal areas, such as swimming pools, gyms and shower rooms
• Having a minor skin or nail injury or a skin condition, such as psoriasis
• Having diabetes, circulation problems or a weakened immune system
How to prevent a fungal infection:
• Wash your hands and feet regularly. Wash your hands after touching an infected nail.
• Keep your nails well trimmed. A long toenail creates a tiny pocket where moisture and debris can collect, creating an excellent breeding ground for fungi.
• Wear sweat-absorbing socks or change your socks throughout the day.
• Choose shoes made of materials that breathe.
• Discard old shoes or treat them with disinfectants or antifungal powders.
• Wear footwear in pool areas and locker rooms.
• Choose a nail salon that uses sterilized manicure tools for each customer.
There are limited options to treat a fungal toenail, including oral antifungal medication, topical medication, laser treatment and nail removal. Each varies in effectiveness and patient safety. You should discuss with your doctor which method of treatment is best for you.
Update on how I am handling the office these days:
Ace Feet will be open as needed while the COVID 19 pandemic is occurring, and of course, fully open once it is no longer an overwhelming issue.
My approach to best serving patients during this pandemic has changed over the past few weeks.
When news of the Biogen conference first hit the internet I felt hopeful that the US, and in particular the Boston area, would be able to contain the virus and avoid wide spread disease. I was hopeful because in spite of all of the terrible news, reports stated that the tide was turning in Wuhan. They were isolating and seeing more recovery and less new cases.
It seemed like we could and would nip it in the bud with social distancing so I shut down the office and cancelled appointments. Let’s face it, most foot problems are not life and death!
A few weeks ago I was hopeful that new COVID cases would not appear locally. Governor Baker imposed a non-essential business shut down. People were staying home, washing their hands more, and generally being careful. I actually thought we could shut this problem down in a jiff, but now it seems that COVID 19 will be around for awhile.
I realized that people are still getting ingrown toenails, infections, and pain. People are walking and running outdoors more and getting injured. Most of these injuries, ingrowns, callouses, and pain points are easily treated. They also have the potential to grow into major problems if left alone.
So let’s say you have a foot problem and you’re feeling kind of miserable! If my office were closed, you’d have to go to a health center to see a primary care doctor, or Urgent Care, or the ER. At any of those places, you would likely come into contact with at least three different people from start to finish (think of the check-in/medical assistant/nurse/radiology technician/doctor or PA). You’d have to go through a busy waiting room in a facility that is probably seeing patients with respiratory problems (potential COVID patients). This can clog up an already strained medical facility and bring more people into contact with each other. (Side note: Many primary care physicians don’t do nail procedures or the like and often refer those problems back to a podiatrist anyways.)
So, I am opening the office to see patients who do not have COVID 19, and who do not have a cough, sore throat or fever. I am the only person in the office. You can go straight from your car, into the treatment room and back, and only deal with me. I am keeping a distance from people. I am wearing a mask throughout the patient visit. I am also giving patients a mask to put on when they come in. The treatment chair and floor mat are wiped down with a Lysol wipe after each person. (I do this anyways.) I am wiping down door handles- all of them – the front door, the glass door, and the room doors.
Long story short, Ace Feet is open. This is my way of helping the community and preventing the spread of this virus. If you have questions or concerns please call 781-901-4896 or email firstname.lastname@example.org