Toenail pain is of varying degrees. Most of them are ignored until the pain becomes so intense. It can range from simple issues to the intolerable pain demanding immediate medical intervention. Often toenail pain is caused by ingrown nails which can either be inherited or develop later in due course due to progressive damage of the cells of the skin under the toenail.
There are several causes for toenail pain. You may feel intense pain when you scratch your toe with some heavy objects. It can occur when there is trauma or injury to the toenails during a fall or accident. Sometimes heavy objects fall on the nail causing irreparable damage to the nail matrix. Wearing poor fitting shoes can eventually cause damage to the toenail. Toenail pain can be felt due to fungal infection. Sometimes scratching one’s toe on the other can cause toe bruising which is quite common while playing. Ingrown nails can cause intense pain on the toenail.
If you do not trim your nails regularly, it may cause a spike of nail to develop into the skin which in turn gets inflamed. There can be pain when there is accumulation of waste particles and fungus between the nail and the skin. There is every chance for bacterial development on the nail portion and hence removal of dirt is essential for maintaining healthy nails. Nail fungus is one of the common causes for nail pain. When fungus develop on the area between the skin and the nail, it gradually turns the nails to become thick and hard and sometimes it gets discolored. Due to invariable nail thickness your toes may not fit well into the shoes causing bruises and pain. Fungus can potentially damage the toenails and above all it has the power to spread the infection deep into the bones. In case of fungus infection you need to take immediate treatment following your doctor’s advice. Instead of relying on over the counter topical creams you can use prescription medications to control fungus infection.
Not all the types of toenail pain needs treatment. If the pain is due to repeated pressure applied on the toes by wearing ill fitting shoes, you can get relief from pain by changing your shoes. You may require treatment if the nail bed has been damaged or if there is prolonged fungal infection on the nails. You can try simple home remedy of keeping your toenails on lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes daily. This would soften the skin and reduce the inflammation on the skin. You can apply antibiotic ointment if you think that the toenail pain is due to fungal infection.
You can remove the nail border or trim down the nail to get relief form pain. In case of prolonged pain with foul smell and darkened color of the nail, you should consult your doctor to get prescribed medications. Your doctor will inspect your toenails and do a short procedure for removing the damaged nail. Local anesthesia is given on the toe to numb the nerve and he covers the wound with mild antibiotic ointment and dressing. This method of office treatment is suitable for removing damaged nails and nails that are badly hurt in accidents.
Very often toenail problem arises if you are wearing loose shoes or overly tight shoes. Wearing a pair of loose shoes will loosen the toenail since the foot will move in and out of the shoe several times when you are walking or running causing injury to the toe tips. There may be bruising of the toenails if you wear tight shoes. Hence it is necessary for you to use proper sized shoes. Small damage and bruises caused to the nails will not require any treatment since the nail will often grow on its own giving relief from pain. In case if the extent of bruise is long that it covers almost one half of the nail-bed then you need to get proper treatment from your doctor.
Sharp and intense pain on the toenail can occur if the bone has been fractured or if there is a cut on the skin underneath. You need to seek prompt medical care for avoiding any infection. You need to watch the color of the toenail as you wash them. Any change in color indicates problem. Nail pain can also be caused due to skin disorders like psoriasis or more seriously due to melanoma.
Dark black colored toenail can be due to blood clot caused by repeated pressure on the nail-matrix. Your feet will develop swelling due to continuous banging across the sides and top and front. It may form blisters on toenail beds. On such circumstances the blood will flow rapidly on the nails to keep them separated from the nail-bed causing blackening of toenails. This would eventually cause the toenail to become raised from the skin and protruding. In case of severe pain and swelling your doctor will drain the fluid inside to reduce inflammation. He will put on a sterilized needle gently piercing it on the blister to drain the excess of fluid and apply antibiotic cream after cleaning the area. Change in nail color is indicative of underlying health issues. Serious toe infections can cause gangrene or blood infection and people who are diabetic can have this kind of problem on their toes.
The best way to prevent toenail pain is to choose proper fitting shoes. Your toes need breathing space inside the shoes but at the same time it should not be so free for your toes to bang around. The shoes you choose should be comfortable for you to walk or run.