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Ask Our Doctor About: Toenails

The questions on this Website have been answered by Board Certified Foot and Ankle Specialists associated with OurHealthNetwork.com. The foot and ankle physicians and surgeons in this group have a combined 100 years of practice experience. The information and opinions expressed below should not be viewed as diagnoses and treatments, but rather as information to help you understand your foot or ankle related problem. All medical problems should be diagnosed and treated by a foot and ankle specialist in your state, or your family doctor.


Subject: White markings

"I just noticed white marks on my toenails. I normally wear nail polish, but I have not seen these before, even when the polish was removed. Any ideas what they may be?"
Dr. Kasdan's response: "If you wear nail polish all the time, some of the chemicals in the polish could produce white marks on the nail. It could also be the early signs of a fungus infection of the nails. I suggest not wearing nail polish for awhile. If the marks disappear, then try a different brand of polish. If the marks do not disappear, or they seem to be spreading, I suggest that you see a podiatrist or dermatologist for a consultation."

Subject: Toenail fungus

"I have had a fungus on the big toe nail for two years. I have taken Lamisil and Sporonox with no positive results. About 2 inches of the skin around the big toe is always red. Over the course of the two years I have had several secondary infections of the skin in this area that required antibiodics. Recently, I tried Penlac. This caused the skin area to become more red, inflammed and puss under the skin. I am at my wits end with this! Do you have any suggestions?"
Dr. Kasdan's response: "In some cases, the only effective treatment for chronic nail fungus, which does not respond to oral or topical treatments, is to remove the toenail. This usually stops the recurring bacterial infections and any pain you present. To see if you are a candidate for this type of treatment, I suggest that you discuss your problem with your family doctor. It sounds drastic, and it may not work for you, so you may want to get more than one opinion."








Subject: Thick Toenails

"What causes toenails to become thick? If they are already thick, what treatment can remedy it? If they are not thick, what measures can you take to prevent this from happening?"
Dr. Kasdan's response: "Toenails can become thick due to: genetics, fungus infections, some systemic diseases, poor circulation, natural aging process, or injury. If you have had a physical exam by your family doctor, and are in good health, then the cause is due to genetics, aging, fungus, or injury. Nothing can be done if the cause is either of the first two; however, if the cause is fungus infection or trauma, a podiatrist can treat these problems, and possibly keep the nails from becoming thicker. Click here for products that may help."

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