Toenail health care in Japan

By on April 2, 2012
The railway system in Japan is so efficient that almost every Tokyoite uses it everyday to commute to and from work.  Just like life in any big urban cities in the world,  you find that there is a lot of walking to do in Tokyo every…single…day!It’s no wonder why: everywhere around town, offering foot massage, foot reflexology that promises to heal tired legs, feet, and nails, special pampering and soothing treatments.  These days,  it is no longer unusual to find some shops with English menus in areas where foreigners live.The one thing though that has caught my attention after living here for years is the scarcity of bilingual Podiatrists that specialize in treating serious foot problems like ingrown toenails, nail infection, etc. of non-Japanese speaking patients. With a lot of walking to do in this city,  it can be challenging for foreigners to find a podiatrist to treat such cases.

Why are ingrown toenails annoying??
Ingrown toenails or “makitsume” in Japanese,  are nails with corners or sides that dig painfully into the soft tissue of nail grooves.  As the nail grows,  the agony of pain begins.  When the toenail accidentally bumps into a hard object, the pain can be excruciating.  Improper cutting may lead to irritation, redness, swelling and infection sometimes preventing one from wearing shoes.  Toenails usually grow straight out.  Ingrown toenails however sometimes curve on the side and grow into the flesh. The big toe is usually affected in most cases.

Known causes:
• Improperly trimmed nails (Trim them straight across, not longer than the tip of the toes. Do not round off corners. Use toenail clippers.)
• Heredity
• Shoe pressure; absence of sufficient toe room
• Feet trauma from activities (sports, accidental movement, etc.)

Home remedy
• If you think infection has begun due to an ingrown toenail, soak the foot in a basin of warm salted water for 20-30 mins.  Salt has a therapeutic property and known to soften hard skin and nails, easing you of the pressure.  Dry with towel and apply a disinfectant (shoudokuzai) that can be bought over the counter in Japanese drugstores.

• Go for comfort when choosing a pair of shoes.  Avoid tight fitting shoes.
• Seek podiatric help if you have diabetes, vascular disease or experiencing circulatory disorders.  Don’t attempt a do-it-yourself treatment.

Treatment by Podiatrist
A podiatrist will resect the ingrown portion of the nail and may prescribe a topical or oral medication to treat the infection. If ingrown nails are a chronic problem, your podiatrist can perform a procedure to permanently prevent ingrown nails. The corner of the nail that ingrows, along with the matrix or root of that piece of nail, are removed by use of a chemical, a laser, or by other methods.

Podiatrists in Japan
Kagurazaka Hada to Tsume no Clinic (Skin and Nail Clinic)
Tel. 03-3513-8212
Location:  Sawaya Building 2F, Kagurazaka 2-12-15,
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Nearest station:   Kagurazaka by Tozai line

Tel. 03-3365-1202
Location:  Kamiochiai 2-22-11, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 161-0034
Nearest station:  Ochiai station by Tozai line or  Nakai station by Seibu Shinjuku line

Tel. 045-664-4649
Location: 1-2 Aioicho Naka-ku Yokohamashi Kanagawa
ken 231-0012
Nearest station:  Kannai station by JR Line

Misono Medical Footcare (specialist)
Tel. 044-752-7229
Location:  Kami shinkatsu 2-8-3 Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki shi, Kanagawa ken 211-0045
Nearest station:  Kawasaki station by Nambu line (Denenchofu line to Mizonokuchi station then change to Nambu line)

About Alice Xu