alkinsey Asked June 2009

What can I do about me elder dad's nail care?

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My dad is in the VA nursing home, and I have been cutting his nails, but on his left hand, which is not used because of an accident, he has gotten some build up under the nails that I can't get out. Has anyone come across this problem? And what can I do about it?

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EXPERT Carol Bradley Bursack Jun 2009
Cat's right. It sounds like it could be fungal - not unusual for someone that age. Nails can be a huge issue for elders.

Carol
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Zio105 Feb 3, 2018
Its probably fungus connected to skin. Be very careful. Eady to cut skin an think its junk. Fungus on nails spread to other nails unfortunately. Vicks vapor rub is pretty good at helping get rid of a sm case but if nail is completely taken over, no can do. Surgery to remover the nail an bed insures nail wont grow back but watch other nails. Id wear tight fitting gloves an wipe feet an between toes with alcohol swab ( if no sores) i use to work for a podiatrist. Used a dremel tool for thick nails. Be careful at how thin you get. It dtarts to burn so take short breaks. Protect clothing an wear mask. If you do nip. Dtop bleeding . Clean with peroxide an put triple antibiotic cream an wrap toe securely. If gets wet, clean dry an do again. Chg often. I use wet wash cloth to go between toes. Soak feek if you can. If not put warm wet towel around foot trying to touch all places to get things soft. Dont peel skin off. If in doubt, dont cut. See a podiatrist. If in doubt.
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Cat Jun 2009
you should ask the nursing homes' DON to take a look and have a professional evaluate and treat it. Better safe than sorry.
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BlueAtlas Jun 2009
What is the build up? Dirty stuff or fungus? Can you tell?

If it's dirty stuff: I take care of my MIL in my home. She gets, um, substances under her nails. Sometimes it's hard to get out. When I shampoo her hair, I always have her scratch her scalp real good when I'm done. The shampoo does wonders for getting her nails clean again.

If it's fungus: Her toenails have an enormous amount of fungus. I've been working on them since she came to us 8 months ago. Fungus takes a very long time to eradicate! Her doctor didn't want to give her an oral medication, so I'm using two different topical treatments, switching every other month or so when it seems like we aren't making progress anymore. One is a very expensive solution we got from the foot doctor that goes on like nail polish. The other is an OTC treatment with Miconazole nitrate in it. Her worst toenail was 1/2 inch high with fungus when I started this. It's now less than half of that, and several toenails are virtually fungus free. For those in a nursing home or other facility, the staff ought to be able to apply something to get rid of fungus, but it will take time. A doctor will need to write an order for them to do it.
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alkinsey Jun 2009
I'm not sure what it is. Itunder his fingernails and it actually hurts him if I try to hard to remove it.
I will be there this evening and will ask a nurse to note it in his chart, seems to me they should be addressingh it!
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