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Discolored Toenails tied to Foot Problems

For diabetics with impaired foot sensation, thickened and discolored toenails are strong indications of fungal infections. On the same note, fungal infections are prevalent among diabetics with increased risk of foot ulcerations. These were found by Dr. Stephanie Wu and associates from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago after observing 96 male diabetic patients.

The investigators utilized nail clippings of the participants with an average age of 71 and have been diabetic for 16 years in average. Though 25 participants have ugly thickened toenails, they are proven negative for fungal nail infections. The rest of the patients, 71, have equally ugly toenails and have infections.

According to Dr. Wu in an interview with Reuters Health, antifungal treatment is usually more effective than oral medications. The latter are linked to liver toxicity and health failure. Treatment is also better since it encourages patients to observe foot hygiene and care to prevent foot ulcers.

In the case of 25 patients with thickened toenails yet free from fungal infections, Dr. Wu said nail thickening and discoloration can be consequences of wearing ill-fitting shoes.

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