All About Toenails: Anatomy and Care

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What do toenails mean to you? Are they just something to be trimmed regularly, or a way to showcase your favorite nail polish color? Or maybe a way to entertain a baby with the rhyme “This little piggy went to market …”? 

Toenails are actually important protective plates that guard your toes from injury such as getting scraped or cut. Our toenails are constantly growing, but much more slowly than fingernails. Toenails grow just 1 millimeter per month, so it takes a toenail up to 18 months to grow from the root to the tip. Nail growth can be affected by aging and by poor circulation.

Toenails Have Complex Structure

There are actually 4 major parts of each toenail:

·         The root of the nail appears as a white crescent and lies under the nail and skin. The root makes the nail and the nail bed.

·         The nail bed contains blood vessels and nerves and produces melanin. As the nail root grows the nail, the nail bed adds material to the underside of the nail to make it thicker.

·         The actual fingernail is the nail plate, made of translucent keratin. It has grooves to help anchor it to the nail bed.

·         The cuticle is a waterproof barrier between the nail plate and the skin of the finger.

Toenail Care Is Important for Foot Health

Toenails need regular and careful care, and not just so your feet look great in sandals. To avoid problems like ingrown toenails and fungal nail, follow these easy care steps:

·         Wash your feet every day, including around each toe, with warm, soapy water. Dry carefully especially between the toes.

·         Trim your toenails regularly so they don’t get too long and cause problems by knocking into your shoes. When trimming the nails, cut them straight across rather than rounding the edges to avoid ingrown toenails.

·         Wear comfortable shoes with lots of room in the toe box. Avoid wearing narrow shoes that jam the toes together, or high heels that put excessive pressure on the toe area.

Happy toes help with happy feet! Be sure to call us if you have any toe or toenail pain or notice anything unusual with your toenails.

Please Come See Us If You Have Any Foot or Ankle Pain

The foot specialists at PodiatryCare, PC and the Heel Pain Center have extensive experience in treating all aspects of foot problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. Many treatments and surgeries can be handled right in our offices. Please call us at (860) 741-3041 to make an appointment in one of our offices conveniently located in Enfield, Windsor and South Windsor, CT.