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Posts for tag: Toenail Fungus

By DANIEL METHUSELAH, DPM
November 01, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Toenail Fungus  

Treating toenail fungus

Toenail fungus--it's one of the most common podiatric problems children, teens, and adults have. Causing thickened, yellow, brittle nails, onychomycosis (the medical name for toenail fungus) spreads easily and can be stubborn to treat. If you see one or more of your toenails changing shape, color, and texture, see your foot doctor right away. They have the expertise and treatments to give you ten clear toenails once again.

How toenail fungus starts

The micro-organism thrives in dark, moist environments--sweaty socks and sneakers being prime candidates. Additionally, shared towels, nail clippers, shower room floors, and pool decks breed toenail and Athlete's Foot fungus. In fact, if you suffer periodic outbreaks of itchy, uncomfortable Athlete's Foot, you're more prone to onychomycosis, says the American Academy of Dermatology.

Conquering toenail fungus

Your foot doctor sees scores of patients with toenail fungus. Visual inspection is the main diagnostic tool, and for mild cases of onychomycosis, the podiatrist may recommend creams or ointments applied topically. Oral medications are an option as well.

Additionally, modern podiatry offers innovative laser treatments which kill the micro-organism right where it lives. Painless and very effective, laser treatments are applied to all ten toenails to prevent re-infection.

Unfortunately, toenail fungal infections can become quite severe and spread to the nail bed. When infection is severe, the podiatrist may advise complete removal of the toenail to prevent further problems.

Prevention is best

Of course, if you can avoid toenail fungus, your feet and nails will look and feel their best, and you won't be embarrassed to wear open-toed shoes or sandals in the warm weather. However, some people are more prone to this common infection--diabetics, those with poor peripheral circulation and individuals who are immunosuppressed.

Regardless, your podiatrist recommends these preventive measures for healthy, fungus-free nails:

  1. Wash your feet with soap and water daily, and dry them with a clean towel.
  2. Clip your toenails straight across with a clean clippers.
  3. Wear clean socks daily.
  4. Change your gym shoes after a workout. In fact, alternate pairs if possible, letting your footwear dry out between wearings.
  5. Wear flip-flops or shower sandals in the locker room and poolside, too.
Look after those feet and nails
 
They're the only ones you have. For ongoing care of your feet and ankles, see your foot doctor each year for a routine examination. He or she will get to know you and your podiatric health needs well so you stay active and feel great.
Fungal ToenailsA fungal infection in one of your toenails can be both uncomfortable and unsightly. To fix the problem, there are both topical and oral treatments that can be used. If you are suffering from a fungal toenail, see your podiatrist as soon as possible. 
 
Fungal toenails tend to affect older men most frequently. As you get older, there is a diminished flow of blood to your toes and a longer period of exposure to fungi. Here are a few more of the most common factors that can increase your chances of getting a fungal toenail:
  • Walking barefoot in wet public areas. Walking without shoes in swimming pools, showers or gyms can increase your chances of a fungal infection.
  • Sweating heavily. If your feet are constantly sweaty, fungus will be more likely to survive and thrive near your toes in your shoe. 
  • Diabetes. Diabetes restricts the flow of blood to the extremities. Because of this, your immune system will be less prepared to fight off the fungal infection.
  • Poor shoes. If you wear shoes that do not ventilate or effectively absorb perspiration well, fungus will be able to thrive near your feet. 

Options To Treat Fungal Toenails

There are over the counter creams and ointments available, but they are generally not as effective as prescribed medications from your podiatrist. When you see your podiatrist, depending on the severity of the infection, they will usually prescribe either an oral medication or a topical cream. 
 
Oral medications are generally taken for 6 to 12 weeks. They work by helping a new nail to grow without any infection, and because of this, the infection resolves somewhat slowly. It will take roughly four months for the nail to truly heal. Your podiatrist may also prescribe a topical medication that you will apply directly to your toenail. 
 
In the most extreme cases, your podiatrist may perform surgery to remove your nail. If this happens, your nail will grow back very slowly, possibly taking up to a year to fully grow back.
 
To learn more about how to treat your fungal toenail or to schedule an appointment, contact your podiatrist today!
By Daniel Methuselah, DPM
March 15, 2012
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Toenail Fungus  

Toenail FungusPreventing & Eliminating Fungal Toenails

Also known as onychomycosis, toenail fungus can be painful, irritating and embarrassing. When there is trauma to the nail, the nail bed is lifted allowing fungus to penetrate and invade the nail bed. Without treatment, the fungus can grow and spread in dark, warm, moist environments, such as socks and shoes.

Common signs and symptoms of toenail fungus include:

  • Discoloring or yellowing of the nail
  • Thickening or crumbling of the nail
  • Swelling around the nail
  • Disfigured nails
  • Streaks or spots down the side of the nail
  • Foul-smelling debris under the nail
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Complete nail loss

Prevention is key

Fungal infections can affect the fingernails as well as the toenails, but toenail fungus is more difficult to treat because toenails grow more slowly. Because removal of the fungus is challenging, prevention plays an important role in treatment.

  • Keep nails neatly trimmed
  • Practice good foot hygiene, including daily washing with soap and water; drying feet and toes carefully; and changing shoes regularly
  • Always wear shoes in public areas, such as showers, locker rooms and pools
  • Wear comfortable shoes that aren't too tight
  • Avoid nail polish which can seal in fungus

Treatment of toenail fungus

If you do develop toenail fungus, especially if the infection becomes painful, visit Daniel Methuselah, DPM. People with a chronic illness like diabetes should always see a podiatrist if they notice changes in their nails as it may be an indication of more serious problems.

To eliminate the fungus, a podiatrist may remove as much of the infected nail as possible by trimming, filing or dissolving it. Oral or topical antifungal medications may also be prescribed to treat the infection. Only for severe, chronic infections will surgical removal of the nail be recommended. Our Irmo office can help diagnose the cause of your toenail problems and make the best recommendation for treatment.