For Patients

Skin and Nail Problem FAQ

What is the painful, white debris between my toes?

It could be a soft corn called a heloma molle, or it could be a fungal infection. 

Back to top ^

Why are my toenails yellow?

Yellow toenails can be caused by wearing toenail polish for an extended amount of time, by a vitamin deficiency, or by a fungal infection. The best way to understand why your toenails are yellow is to perform a biopsy. This doesn’t hurt. The doctor takes a small clipping from your toenail and sends it to a laboratory for testing. This testing will help determine the cause of discoloration as well as the most appropriate treatment.

Back to top ^

Should I try to cut out my ingrown toenail?

No. Many people give themselves nasty infections by trying to remove ingrown toenails with dirty nail clippers or cuticle scissors. We use special tools and can remove this problem quickly. Call us for an appointment before you risk pain and infection. 

Back to top ^

What is the proper way to cut your toenails?

Toenails should be cut straight across with toenail cutters, then smoothed at the edge with an emery board. Digging too much into the corners can cause an ingrown toenail. Remember to clean your toenail cutters with alcohol every time you cut your toenails. 

Back to top ^

Can I prevent athlete's foot fungus?


Athlete's foot fungus is a common fungal skin infection of the feet that causes itching, scaling, rashes and peeling inbetween your toes and on the bottom of your feet. Tips to prevent athletes foot:

1. Wash your feet everyday with soap and water. Dry thoroughly, especially between your toes.

2. In public facilities always use flip-flops or another type of bathing shoe.

3. Before you put on your shoes, sprinkle your feet with talcum powder.

4. Wear shoes that are light and airy.

5. Frequently change your socks and shoes to control the moisture if your feet perspire.

If you have itchy peeling feet, contact us for an appointment.

Back to top ^

Why is my toenail green?

A green toenail is usually a sign of a bacterial infection of the nail. This infection usually occurs after the nail becomes loose, creating an environment under the nail that is conducive for bacterial growth. Evaluation by your doctor is important to prevent worsening of the infection. 

Back to top ^

I have some black toenails caused by trauma or stress injury. What happens if I don’t treat them?

In the case of a more severe injury, the nail may fall off. If the injury is less severe or caused by repetitive stress, the nail may loosen or grow deformed. If untreated, a fungal infection may develop.

Back to top ^

How do I prevent black toenails?

Trim your nails just long enough that the tips can be grabbed by your fingernail. Wear appropriately sized shoes that give at least a finger's width between the tip of your toe and the end of the shoe. Also, tighten your shoelaces to prevent slippage of your foot in the shoe. 

Back to top ^

Is it necessary to remove a black toenail?

Yes, if the bleeding/discoloration covers more than 50% of the nail, or if direct trauma has caused a fracture or break of the underlying bone. In these cases, if the toenail is not removed, there may be a risk of infection in the underlying bone. 

Back to top ^

Why are my toenails yellow and brittle?

Yellow brittle toenails are often caused by fungus, also known as onychomycosis. They can also be caused by liver problems, vitamin deficiencies, eczema, psoriasis, or chronic trauma from athletic activities. If your toenails are looking unusual, a biopsy is recommended. Earlier diagnosis + treatment = a faster cure. 

Back to top ^

Are warts contagious?

Many times, yes. The wart is caused by a virus which can linger in moist environments such as pools, spas, locker rooms and public showers. Wearing flip-flops or water shoes in these areas is a good idea.

Back to top ^

How do I avoid ingrown toenails?

The simplest way to avoid an ingrown toenail is to trim your nails straight across and then slightly round them at the edge with a file or emery board. If you tear or pull your toenails rather than cut them, stop! If you find that the edges of the skin closest to the nail are dry, rough or cracked, you should moisturize them. You can also use a pumice stone to soften these areas. 

Back to top ^

How do I know if I have a fungus in my nails?

A fungal infection of the nail usually shows up as a discolored, thickened area. As the fungus progresses, the nail can become more discolored, thicker and brittle.

Back to top ^

Give us a call today!

  • " I can’t say enough about the outstanding care I received at Southeastern Foot and Ankle. I am 91 years old, and Dr. Mc ..."
Read more testimonials ›

Follow Us