Watch Out for Diabetic Nail Problems

If you or a family member has diabetes, you know that it's very important to take good care of your feet. Nerve damage called neuropathy can cause reduced sensation in your extremities, especially in your feet. If you can't feel any small injury like a cut or puncture wound, it can quickly worsen. Add to this problem the fact that many individuals with diabetes have poor circulation that hampers healing and even a small cut, if undetected, can escalate into a serious situation.

Another potential problem for a patient with diabetes is toenail fungus, especially if it enters the nail bed and is more difficult to remove. The fungus, called onychomycosis, thrives in warm, moist environments like the inside of your shoes. It is very contagious and easily picked up in public areas like pools, locker rooms and showers. This fungal infection causes the toenails to become brittle and easily broken into sharp points which can pierce the surrounding skin and let bacteria into your system - a dangerous scenario for those with diabetes.

At Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute, we have had great success with oral and topical medications to eliminate toenail fungus. These are particularly effective when used together. In severe cases, we will excise the nail bed by surgically removing the toenail.

Fungal Nail Can Be Prevented

You can prevent toenail fungus with good nail and foot care, especially if you have diabetes. Follow these steps:

  • Inspect your feet daily. Look for any cuts or bruises or changed skin, no matter how minor. Contact us if you see anything problematic.
  • Clean your feet every day by washing in warm, soapy water. Dry thoroughly especially between the toes.
  • Smooth on an emollient foot cream to keep skin supple and avoid cracked skin.
  • Always wear shoes - never go barefoot - and be sure your footwear is roomy and comfortable.
  • Wear clean, dry socks and change when sweaty. Choose synthetic materials that wick moisture away from your skin.
  • Wear flip-flops or shower shoes in public areas.
  • Trim your toenails straight across - don't round at the corners as that can cause an ingrown toenail. We can cut your nails for you if you find it difficult.
  • Never cut corns or calluses - seek professional help.

Let Us Help Heal Your Fungal Nail

Dr. John Schilero, DPM, board certified podiatrist has extensive experience with all types of diabetic foot conditions and problems including fungal nail. Please call us at 561-694-7776 EXT. 41 to make an appointment at one of our four offices conveniently located in Palm Beach County. You can also request an appointment at the website. Don't live with the discomfort of toenail fungus - we can help!