Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 2 » Foot - Nail Conditions, Skin Conditions, Joint And Bone Conditions, Circulatory Conditions, Proper Shoe Gear And Selection

Foot - Nail Conditions

treatment poor circulation medications

Nail ailments are common in the geriatric population. Systemic diseases (i.e., psoriasis, poor circulation, diabetes mellitus, syphilis, reiters syndrome, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus), poor nutrition, and poor circulation can cause changes in nail texture color and presentation. Treatment of underlying disease can help resolution of nail conditions.

Any nail deformity, tight shoes, or improper cutting can lead to painful ingrown nails. In time skin penetration can lead to bacterial infections and chronic inflammation causing a condition referred to as a paronychia. Treatment may consist of nail removal and antibiotics. All nails should be cut straight across to avoid curved edges. If pain is present in nail edges professional help should be sought.

Fungal nail infections, or onychomycosis, are prevalent in older adults. Fungus tends to grow under the nail and cause a discoloration, thickening, and deformed appearance causing pain and nail loss. This condition usually presents at the tip or sides of the nail and progresses to the base. Treatment for onychomycosis can be difficult. In the past topical preparations and removal of the nail produced limited or no results. More recently, oral medications have shown a higher cure rate. Topical preparations have a low risk of side effects but a longer treatment time (about one year). Oral medications have a shorter treatment period (about three months) but present more side effects due to the nature of the treatment. In severe cases, where medications are not appropriate, permanent removal of the nail may be warranted.

Evaluations of nail conditions should include screening for systemic diseases, such as psoriasis, diabetes, gout, and poor circulation, as well as attention to diet and nail cultures to rule out fungus. Although malignancies are rare in the foot, a biopsy of nail or skin changes should be considered.

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