Click the conditions below to discover how they affect the toes — and how footwear can alleviate common symptoms.
Toenail FungusShoes with extra depth and a large toe box can help reduce the likelihood of an infected toenail rubbing on the inside of a shoe.
Got a thick and discolored toenail? It could be a sign of a fungal infection within the nail plate. While this infection is usually not serious, it can cause the toenail to deform and become painful.
There are antifungal medications available in both pill and topical lotion form. The pills get rid of the fungus. but must be taken for months at a time — and often repeatedly. They can also be toxic to your liver, so your liver function must be watched by your physician. Topical lotions typically don’t work because the nail plate is impermeable, the medication can’t penetrate it. Even when you’re able to get rid of the fungus, it often comes right back following treatment.
The elderly and people with diabetes or other medical conditions that compromise the small blood vessels that provide nutrients and fight off the fungus are most likely to have fungal nails.
How Footwear Can Help
Shoes with extra depth and a large toe box can help reduce the likelihood of an infected toenail rubbing on the inside of a shoe.
The best way to deal with toenail fungus is to have your podiatrist thin the nail with special tools every two to three months to keep the nail as close to normal as possible. Your toenail may fall off or need to be removed, but this is rarely painful when handled by a medical professional.