See the podiatrists at the Perth Foot & Ankle Clinic now if your nails don’t look right. We can diagnose and treat a variety of nail condition.
What are nails?
Nails are a bit like little claws. They are made of a tough protein called keratin (as is hair, horns and hooves). A nail consists of the nail plate (the bit you can see), the nail matrix (where the nail grows from), and the nail bed underneath. Nails start to develop in the womb. Fingernails start to develop in the embryo at 10 weeks and toe nails at 14 weeks. They are completely developed by 32 to 36 weeks. In young children, the nails are thin and flexible. In older people they can often get thicker and stiffer.
Why do we have nails?
The nails protect the ends of the fingers and toes (also known as digits), help with precise movements (by supporting the soft part of the digits), and are handy for gripping things (think of picking up something very small), scratching and scraping.
Causes of funny looking nails
Nails can look abnormal for a variety of reasons:
Fungal nail infections. Nail fungus can cause discolouration (usually white or yellow) on the surface or underneath the nail. Sometimes part of the nail can separate from where it attaches to the toe underneath. The technical name for this is onycholysis. Eventually the nail can thicken and become flakey. Read more about fungal nail infections here.
Lines and ridges. These are common and are usually normal. They may worsen during pregnancy. A large groove down the centre of the nail can be caused by a habit of repeatedly rubbing or scratching the nail (a bit like the habit of picking the nails). A horizontal ridge across the nail (also known as a Beau’s line) may form as a result of an illness, infection or previous chemotherapy.
Senile nails. As you age, the nails may become thickened, brittle and develop ridges and separation of the nail layers at the end of the nail. This is not a disease, but is one of the signs of ageing, although not all people develop such nails as they get older.
Whitish or yellowish nails. These can occur due to onycholysis in the absence of fungal nail infection, although persistent onycholysis can make the nails more susceptible to fungal infection, as the separated part of the nail is a good place for fungi to get underneath the nail.
Red or black nails are usually due to a haematoma, or blood under the nail, which occur from trauma such as kicking or dropping something on the nail. The discoloured area will grow out with the nail and be trimmed off as you trim your nails. If you have a black spot under your nail that was not caused by trauma, you may want to see a health professional to check that it is not due to a skin cancer. A simple biopsy can help to determine the cause.
Green or other coloured nails. These can be caused by a bacterial infection (the green type is usually caused by a bacterium called Pseudomonas aeruginosa), which grow under a nail that has partially separated from the nail bed.
Pitted nails. These may be associated with psoriasis or other skin problems that affect the nail matrix, the area under the skin just behind the nail.
Swelling and redness of the skin around the nail is called paronychia. This is an infection of the skin at the bottom of the nail (cuticle). Sometimes this happens quite quickly, and is usually caused by an infection. If it happens over a longer period of time, it may be caused by chronic irritation of the nail, and this may lead to an infection too, as the nail and skin around it is more susceptible to infection if it is irritated over time.
Chronic nail trauma occurs from ill-fitting shoes and work boots, or sports which involve repeatedly starting and stopping, kicking, and long distance running. This trauma can cause permanent damage to the nail and matrix, which can mimic the appearance of fungal nails.
What should I do if my nails don’t look right?
See your Podiatrist or GP, who can help to work out why your nails don’t look right, and suggest possible treatment options for you.
Ingrown toenails can be painful, unsightly and make your life miserable! If you are suffering from ingrown toenail pain that is not getting better or is infected, then we can provide prompt relief. Sometimes we can fix the issue on the spot, and sometimes we need to do a minor surgical procedure in order to solve the problem. Here are seven reasons why you should come and see one of the Podiatrists from our Booragoon team if you have an ingrown toenail.
We have performed literally thousands of ingrown toenail surgeries, and are experienced in all types of nail surgery techniques.
2. We use a variety of procedures to suit each patient
We use a variety of procedures designed to suit each patient’s particular needs. We can remove the sides of the nail either temporarily or permanently, or even the entire nail (which is not usually required). If there are other problems related to the ingrown nail, such as a bony lump under the nail or a cyst, then we can fix those at the same time.
3. We can often do the procedure at our office
Most of the procedures we do can be done quickly and conveniently in our office, with no down time for you, so you can fit the treatment in to your schedule. Some procedures need to be done in a local hospital, but you would only need to be there for a few hours.
We are very good at giving local anaesthetics, and in most cases there is little or no discomfort for the patient when the local anaesthetic is being administered.
If you are nervous of needles, then we can provide medicines to help you relax during the procedure.
If you prefer to be asleep during the whole process, then we can arrange for you to come to the hospital, where you will be under the care of a specialist anaesthetist during your procedure.
5. Post Operative Pain
In most cases there is minimal post operative pain. We typically recommend ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen) and paracetamol (e.g. Panadol). A lot of patients find that they don’t need to take any pain medication at all.
For more invasive procedures, we usually send you home with an anti-inflammatory drug and some additional “top up” pain medication just in case it’s required. We also use a long-acting anaesthetic together with a short-acting steroid after we have finished, which means your toe will be numb often until the next day, with minimal discomfort afterwards.
Post operative infection is not common if you look after the wound correctly (and we’ll show you how to do that). If an infection does occur then we will review you and possibly provide antibiotics.
We give you the dressings that you need and make sure you understand how to look after the surgery site. We like to see you once or twice for follow up care.
There’s no need to suffer with ingrown toe nails. Our Podiatrists can quickly relieve your pain and fix the problem permanently. One of our top feedback points from patients is that getting their ingrown toenails fixed was easier, quicker and less unpleasant than they had imagined!
If you’d like more details or have questions, then come in to see us for an assessment.
Are you tired of having unattractive and discoloured nails caused by fungal nail infection?
We are proud to announce that we now offer laser treatment for fungal nail infections at our Booragoon clinic.
We have chosen to use the Fox laser, manufactured by A.R.C. Laser. This is a powerful class 4 medical laser, which we believe to be the current best option for the treatment of fungal nail infections.
As part of a comprehensive treatment program, nail laser therapy offers a convenient, painless way to get rid of your nail fungus. Success rates of above 70% have been reported.
How does the Fox laser – fungal nail laser treatment work?
The laser light penetrates the nail and heats up the nail bed underneath. This kills both the fungus and its spores.
It also stimulates the activity of white blood cells which attack the fungi and help the body to cure the infection.
How we use the Fox laser treatment for fungal nail infection
Before treatment, we perform a thorough assessment of your suitability for this treatment. We assess your risks, including whether you have adequate sensation in your feet, your medical history and the likelihood of successful treatment and/or recurrence.
During each treatment session, we pass the laser light around and over your nail in a grid-like pattern. We make 2 or more passes over each nail, and work out a total amount of laser energy applied to each nail based on size and other factors.
You will feel heat from the laser, but this does not burn the skin or nails. We make sure that you are comfortable during the treatment process.
Once the treatment is over, there is nothing special you need to do to the nails, and you can resume normal activities immediately.
How many laser treatment will I need?
This depends upon the severity of the infection (we will classify and document the severity during your first consultation). Typically 2 to 4 treatments are required over the course of 2 to 3 months. Nails grow very slowly so it can take up to a year for the nail to look completely normal again.
The procedure is safe
No anaesthesia is required
There are no usual side effects
There is no visible change to the nail or skin
After the procedure:
Socks and shoes can be used immediately
Nail polish can be applied
There is no “recovery period”. You can resume normal activities immediately
Our point of difference
Fungal nail infections can be difficult to treat and may recur in the future (you can read more about fungal nail infections here, and other causes of abnormal looking nails here). For this reason, we tailor a comprehensive treatment program which starts before your first laser treatment and continues afterwards in order to maximise success and prevent recurrence. Our goal is to manage your fungal nail infection over the long term.
Want to know more?
Call us today for more details about laser treatment for fungal nail infection and to make a booking for assessment and treatment.