Understanding Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a common problem that affects people of all ages. It is an infection that develops under the nails surface that is caused by fungi.
Toenail fungus usually starts under the fold at the end of the nail. Once the tiny fungi organisms take hold of the nail, it will begin to change the nails appearance. The nail will darken to a yellow or brownish color and have a bad odor. In some cases, will cause a thickening and/or deformity of the toenail. The thicker/deformed nails are difficult to trim and can make wearing some shoes difficult and even painful.
It is possible for toenail fungus to spread to other toenails, the skin, and sometimes the fingernails. Often, it begins as a skin infection known as tinea pedis, or athlete’s foot. It is also often present with a secondary yeast or bacterial infection in or around the nail plate.
Toenail Fungus Causes and Symptoms
There are several factors that can contribute to toenail fungus. Your nails are extra vulnerable in warm, damp areas where you are likely to be barefoot- like saunas, showers, locker rooms, water parks, and swimming pools. Excessive pressure (from shoes) or injury to the nail bed also make the nail more inclined to any type of infection, including fungal infections.
People who suffer from chronic illnesses like circulatory problems, immune-deficiency conditions, or diabetes, are especially susceptible to contracting fungal toenails. Also, people with a history of developing athlete’s foot and those who perspire excessively are more vulnerable to the ailment.
Patients will often ignore toenail fungus, as it can exist for years without any pain. It is a problem that causes a progressive change in the quality and appearance of the toenail. It can be ugly, and the patient is usually embarrassed by their condition by the time they make an appointment for treatment.
Toenail Fungus Treatment
If you notice any deformity, discoloration, or thickening of one or more of your toenails, you should make an appointment with one of our friendly foot doctors. When toenail fungus is treated sooner, rather than later, your chances of clearing your nails without complications are much higher.
Before any treatment is offered we will examine your nail and perform a culture on it. We will determine the cause and then work with you to form a suitable treatment plan.
Depending on the characteristics and severity of your infection, treatment options will vary. Some options include prescribing oral and/or topical medications and removing the diseased nail matter and debris off the infected nail.
Some patients may require surgical treatment. To temporarily remove the infected nail would allow for direct application of topical antifungal medications. If the nail has not responded to any other form of treatment and is chronically painful, it may be permanently removed.
It is common for people to struggle with managing their toenails and to need help caring for them. The doctors at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle can diagnose the cause of your toenail nuisances and recommend effective treatments. Don’t suffer needlessly. Schedule your appointment today!
Call (208) 855-5955 or request an appointment online.