Masters of the Toenail

When I went Podiatry school we had a course on toenails. It was taught by the former dean of our school, a courtly gentleman, who passed away a few years ago at the age of 100. I am quite sure that Podiatry is the only health profession with a semester length course on toenails which is appropriate since we are the “masters of the toenail.”

And it’s not just in school, in our everyday practice we do a LOT of work on toenails!

Most of us have seen every kind of weird, unbelievable toenail you can imagine. When someone says this is probably the worst toenail you’ve seen they have no idea how bad the worst we toenails we have seen really were!

There are all sorts of oddities associated with toenails. Did you that a certain malformation of the toenail can be associated with heart abnormalities? Since the toenails and the heart form embryologically at the same time, there are certain associations between nail deformities and heart abnormalities.

Long before the laser treatment for fungus toenails became popular, we relied on oral medication, topical medication and local debridedment of the toenails in order to cure the fungus infection. Even at that time podiatrists who debrided the toenails seem to get much better results than doctors who merely prescribed the oral or topical medication. Since toenails are an important part of our practice, our training went beyond the easy part of the treatment and did the more difficult job of thinning the toenails and removing as much of the fungal debris as possible. Even with a tool as amazing as the laser, curing fungus toenails is still difficult. Combining our years of experience and doing the unglamorous but important part of the treatment makes the laser treatment work all that much better for curing fungus toenails!

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