When most people think about reasons to visit a foot and ankle clinic, they usually think of conditions such as plantar fasciitis or a sprained ankle. What you might not think of is a less common, but equally serious, condition called a secondary toenail. Secondary toenail growth can be far more than just a discomfort. In fact, it can breed serious infection concerns. Here's a look at what you need to know about this condition and what your foot and ankle clinic can do about it.
Signs Of Secondary Toenail Growth
In the early stages, you may not notice much when you have a toe that starts growing a secondary toenail. The second toenail will start growing underneath the existing one, so it isn't typically visible. You may notice that it starts with some mild pain or discomfort in the affected toe or a feeling of pressure on that toe.
When you look at the toenail, you may notice that the base of the nail looks discolored. This discoloration is actually the appearance of the second toenail beneath. As the nail growth progresses, the existing toenail will be raised up by the nail that's growing underneath it. This creates a vulnerable area for bacteria to get in, leading to an infection in the nail bed. If this happens, the affected toe will become swollen, red, and painful to the touch.
Causes Of Secondary Toenail Growth
The growth of a secondary toenail is not a common occurrence, but there are a few different things that can cause it. Sometimes, it's caused by a trauma to the toe that has loosened the toenail. In other cases, it may be the result of pressure on the tip of a toenail that's grown beyond the end of the toe. That pressure can actually lift the end of the toenail, much like a lever. Left this way, with the end of the nail in the nail bed lifted up, it opens up space for the second nail to grow beneath it.
Treatment For Secondary Toenail Growth
You might wonder how a secondary toenail is treated. In fact, the second toenail isn't the one that's treated. The original toenail is typically the one that needs to be addressed. In those situations, you'll usually be given an antibiotic before anything else is done. After a couple of days on an antibiotic to help curb any infection, you'll visit the foot and ankle clinic to have the original toenail removed so that the second one can grow properly.
Once that toenail is removed, your toe will be bandaged and you'll be provided with aftercare instructions. You will typically have to continue taking an antibiotic for several days after the procedure to eliminate any residual infection while your toe heals.
For more information, contact a local foot and ankle specialist.
A few weeks ago, my wife made me go to the nail salon with her. Instead of sitting around for hours while my wife perused nail decals and polish options, I decided to get a pedicure. It was a really relaxing experience, but I quickly discovered that the process was about more than a foot bath. Before I knew it, someone was cutting and sanding my toenails. Unfortunately, a few days later I developed a massive ingrown toenail infection, which my podiatrist attributed to my visit to the nail salon. I want everyone to know how to properly care for their feet, so I made this website.