Most people think very little about their toenails and overlook the symptoms of toenail disease and uncleanliness. Determining your toenail health is fairly easy. Assuring and maintaining your toenail health takes a bit of tender loving care and time. Extreme cases need to be referred to a foot doctor and treated either through natural cures or conventional drugs.
Take A Good Look
Looking at your feet, especially if you've never really given them much observation, might scare you with what you find. Examine each toenail for any discoloration. Nails should be naturally white and pink. Thickness of he nails indicates fungus or trauma. Any blue, yellow, gold, brown, spotting or thick white (more than the others) indicates unhealthy areas and needs treatment. See how many of your nails need special treatment. For extreme cases, consult a podiatrist.
Daily Care Routine
Give your toenails a good scrub daily with warm water and a mild soap. Scoop under the nail tip to remove any build up underneath. Wash feet thoroughly after exercising or wearing shoes for a full day. Bacteria and fungus accumulate when the feet are enclosed. Form these new cleansing and health habits by creating a new routine to make your nails a priority.
Weekly or Bi-Weekly Care
Soak feet once a week, or at least every two weeks, in a foot bath. With a cuticle instrument (available at a supermarket, discount store or drug store), push back the cuticles on the toenails. Avoid pushing too far or causing the skin to break or bleed. Trim off excess and discard. Strengthen the nails with a clear coat of nail polish. Many nail strengthening polish sell at supermarkets and discount stores. Trim and file nails when needed to a widen-tip look, not rounded. Try to give the nails a uniform look. Add color if desired. Choose a color that is seasonally appropriate.
Ingrown Toenails, Hangnails and Other Woes
Ingrown toenails happen to the best of us. Soak feet first in a salt-water bath in preparation for taking care of the problem nail. Do this 15 to 20 minutes a day. If the nail does not naturally even out, avoid further pain by gently clipping the hangnail at the base and letting the nail regrow in time. Loose skin (a hangnail) creates pain also. Be sure to not further aggravate the toenail area by picking at the skin around them. Clip any excess skin carefully. Bruising of the nails occurs in the natural course of life. A black (or sometimes blue) toenail has been bruised. Severe bruising causes the toenail to fall off. If this happens, soak the foot in warm warm. Apply a triple antibiotic ointment and gently bandage the toenail with cotton gauze until the new nail begins to regrow. White spots on nails indicate an injury, infection or infrequently, a mineral deficiency. These diminish with time. Let the nail grow out and keep them properly maintained and trimmed.