Let me start off by saying that I absolutely love going barefoot, wearing open-toed shoes, so on and so forth. Unfortunately, my toenails are rather gruesome, due to an infection that went untreated when I was younger. The infection has been gone a long time, but unfortunately I'm left with some really nasty looking toenails. :(
I've been seeing a podiatrist on and off for the past three or four years for another foot-related issue, who has given me a medicated lacquer to apply, but I have not been very adamant about it because when I was for a three month period, there wasn't much improvement. I've been meaning to restart the lacquer, but there's little incentive to put so much time into my feet with no guarantee of an improvement.
A few years ago, when I would go shoe- and sock-less fairly regularly, friends and acquaintances would notice my feet and some would become rather alarmed: "Oh my God! What happened to your toes?!" When I'd reply that I had an infection years ago, they seemed to miss the word "had" and would get all skeeved out as if it's contagious.
Here's what my toes look like nowadays. Be aware that the pictures are extremely large and quite close-up:
How would you deal with it if you had toes that gnarly looking? "Just don't look at them" isn't really what I'm talking about as other people are going to look and are most likely going to say something. While I try not to care what people say/think, this is something that really hurts when people react so alarmed or get grossed out when they see my feet.
I've dealt with it up 'til now by having my feet almost constantly covered when around other people, but I'd like to be able to go barefoot or wear open-toed shoes once in awhile...
I know I can't control people's reactions, but maybe there's a better thing to say than the fact that I had an infection. Any ideas?
Also, I know there's an option to have cosmetic surgery to fix my nails, but I've already talked that over with my podiatrist: It'd be extremely expensive and the results aren't guaranteed. Him and I both agreed that short of trying the lacquer again, my best option is to live with it. :-/
Mods: I wasn't sure if this belonged more in SO or HL, so move it as you see fit. :)