Your Feet – Indicators of your health
Because they are so far away from our heart, our feet are often the first part of the body to show something is wrong with the way blood circulates in our body.
The condition of our toenails can signal the presence or beginning of several diseases. For example, toenails that are hollow instead of being rounded can indicate iron deficiency or anemia (a shortage of red blood cells). Increased nail thickness, or bumps on the nail can be manifestations of psoriasis.
Here at Coastal Podiatry Foot & Ankle clinic we will always check the condition of your toenails and can provide a range of treatments for all your toenail problems.
The major parts of the toenail are: the nail itself (nail plate); the nail matrix, from where the nail grows; the lunula, the white moon-shaped area at the base of the nail; the nail bed, the tissue on which the nail lies; and the sulcus, the groove of skin at the sides of the nail in which the nail sits.
Toenails grow constantly. Healthy nails are pink, free of dirt and impairment and grows into the grooves normally. It takes up to 12 months to replace the toenail of your big toe.
Who gets nail problems?
Toenails of people of all ages can undergo a range of changes, some of which are relatively common. They can become thick, brittle, curved, discoloured, infected, clubbed, bumpy and grooved. In some cases, the nail may fall off and another one grows. As we grow older, we are more likely to develop toenail problems.
What causes nail problems?
Toenail problems may me caused by warts, tumours under the nail, trauma, infection or poor circulation. Major toenail problems can be caused by incorrectly fitting shoes, which press too tightly on the toenails. Injury such as, bruising under the nail and infection can cause permanent nail deformity.
Older people with poor circulation are prone to fragile or brittle nails.
Many older people do not have the strength, flexibility or eyesight to trim their nails, especially if the nails are deformed. They should seek Podiatric care for these services and advice regarding safe self-care.
Any sudden changes in colour or shape of the nail, sign of infection, development of a freckle under the nail or pain should be discussed with your Podiatrist. Your Podiatrist can diagnose the problem and then advise an appropriate treatment.
Healthy feet provide the foundations for a healthy body and an active life!
Dr Peter Shelton BSc Hons. Accredited Podiatrist.