Poses In Yoga
• Nails become damaged because of trauma, such as kicking a rock. Runners often produce “black toenails” and other nail damage during long runs during which the toe rubs on the front of a shoe or the insole thousands of times a mile. This can be aggravated by sock fabric bunching or snagging of the nail on the sock. Some runners have a genetic tendency to “claw” with their toes or in the case of a hammertoe, rub against the top of the shoe.
• Athletes foot fungus can invade a nail and cause thickening and discoloration usually in multiple nails on both feet. A chronic problem can occur when this fungus moves into a nail damaged by trauma.
• Prevention starts with selection of a shoe that has the right length and shape for the individual foot. If the big toe is squeezed, the nail will catch. If the outer toes are not accommodated, they will rub on the outside of the shoe. Nails grow at different rates, in various degrees of thickness and shapes. Some need a trim every week, others every 3 weeks. The nails should be trimmed back to the skin junction. Ingrown nails result from trimming too short, so more frequent trimming is the best policy. After trimming each nail, move your finger from the top of the front edge of the nail back. If you feel the leading edge, it will probably catch on the sock or liner or upper as the foot slides slightly in the shoe with each step. Use a good pedicure file to thin or bevel from rear to front on top of the nail so the forward part of the nail becomes very thin. Pedicure files are available at beauty supply counters and at larger pharmacies and are infinitely better than other types of files which result in frustration and wasted time. Some runners tape over the nails during important longer events. Paper tape is best because it is thin and sticks well. Do not place the tape near the rear of the toes because blisters can form where the toe meets the foot.
• When thinning previously damaged nails, use the same approach but work more on the upper surface of the damaged nail. Be careful because these nails may split and become irregular in shape. Take daily care of your nails! One day of neglect with trauma and you’ll have to spend a lot more time to repair the damage.
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• If nail damage occurs with discoloration beneath the plate, drain it. You may save the nail if you act quickly, reducing pain, and possibly avoiding toenail thickening and warping. If the red/pink/black discoloration is near the front of the nail it can be drained with a needle. It sounds painful, but this is not usually the case. Press down on the nail to express the fluid (may sting a little, but icing before and working slowly prevents pain). You can sterilize the needle with a flame briefly, but infection is unlikely with good hygiene afterwards. Line up the needle into the largest portion of the discoloration and push it toward the plate as if you were trying to slide it underneath the nail. You do not need to poke the skin at all. It only needs to enter a very short distance to release the fluid which escapes quickly. This may have to be repeated as the nail bed refills over the first day or so. This usually provides immediate relief of most of the pain. Waiting longer than 48 hours can allow the blood and fluid to become thick and eventually look like a scab as the nail grows out, preventing drainage.
• Discoloration at the back of a toenail that feels “lifted” indicates fluid that can be drained by making a hole in the nail. Heat a safety pin or paper clip to red hot (be sure to insulate your fingers) and penetrate by touching the nail with slight pressure. It will not hurt unless extra pressure is applied. Press only hard enough to make a slight penetration where the discoloration is most dark (the fluid pools there providing a margin of separation). Commonly the fluid is under pressure and will squirt out, providing immediate pain relief. This may also need to be repeated, by reheating the pin.
• Protect the nails from infection with antibiotic cream (inserting underneath the nail through the hole if possible), and taping over the hole for a couple of days.
• Fungal nails are more yellow with streaks of discoloration that yoga from the leading edge to the growth area. There are strong medications that can eliminate the fungus among healthy people. A doctor will need to monitor this, and failures are common. Draining the nail will tend to prevent the spread of the fungus which tends to move into a damaged toenail.
• Many cases of fungal nails heal when the repeated trauma ceases. Treatment can be safely supplemented with topical non-prescription antifungal solutions.
• Medical sampling of the nail is the only way to determine if the fungus is present.
• It may take a year for a big toenail to grow through its cycle. Smaller nails recycle more quickly.