Toenails: Your Questions Answered


Toenails are an area of concern. In addition to injury, fungus, and ingrown nails, Dr. William Buffone of North Fork Podiatry/Three Village Podiatry is equipped to treat all nail conditions. Today he’s sharing answers to some of the more common questions he receives about toenails.

Q: I got a pedicure recently and now the skin adjacent to my toenail is itchy and red - could it be infected?

A: These are two possible signs of infection, particularly if the nail’s protective cuticle was pushed back or cut during the pedicure. Another cause could be an allergic reaction to the products used such as polish, creams, and instruments. If these symptoms persist, seek medical treatment.

Q: How can I tell if I have toenail fungus?

A: Toenail fungus is an infection beneath the nail that grows very slowly. The most common signs of a fungal infection are yellow or brown discoloration, change in nail texture, flaky debris under the nail, and a thickening of the nail.

Q: After dropping a heavy object on my toe, the toenail became very thick. If I have it removed, will it grow back normally? 

A: Having a damaged, thick toenail removed will typically not result in a healthier nail. Once the nail growth center is damaged, it usually will continue to produce a nail that looks different.

Q: I exercised in a new pair of shoes and now a portion of my big toenail is turning black and loosening; what should I do?

A: The sudden discoloration is probably due to trauma to the nail bed that resulted in bleeding underneath the nail. It is typically due to repetitive stress to the nail from wearing a tight shoe. If the nail is extremely loose or more than half of the nail is black, it is best to visit a podiatrist.

Q: I’ve been getting repeated ingrown toenails – why do they keep coming back?

A: The most common reason that ingrown toenails keep coming back is due to the shape of the big toe and the core bone position. Another factor that can be to blame is ill-fitting shoes. Be sure to keep your toenails at a healthy length and cut the nail straight across.

If you have any questions regarding your toenail health, schedule a consultation with Dr. William Buffone of North Fork Podiatry/Three Village Podiatry today.

You can reach Three Village Podiatry at (631) 474-3338, North Fork Podiatry (Southold) at (631) 765-6777 or North Fork Podiatry (Riverhead) at (631) 419-7107 today or schedule your appointment online.