Posts for tag: Toenail fungus
Toenail fungus is a common problem that can be rather challenging to get rid of. While toenail fungus can happen to anyone it most often occurs in older adults. If you are noticing that one of your toenails has thickened, become brittle and turned yellow then chances are good that you are dealing with a toenail fungus.
What causes a fungal infection in the toenail?
A toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is the result of a fungal known as a dermatophyte. While less common, molds and yeasts can also infect the toenails. The reason older adults are more prone to fungal nail infections is because nails dry out as we age, which leads to cracks within the nail. These cracks make it easier for a fungal infection to get inside the nail.
Fungal is all around us. They are more often found in warm, dark, and damp places such as communal locker rooms and showers, gyms, and local swimming pools. It’s also possible to get a toenail fungus from a nail salon so it’s important to know the hygiene and sterilization practices of your local nail salon to make sure that you aren’t at risk for developing a fungal infection.
Treating Toenail Fungus
The good news it that healthy individuals may be able to tackle their toenail fungus on their own with over-the-counter medication. If you don’t have a weak immune system, diabetes or circulation problems then you may choose to try at-home treatments first before turning to a doctor. Those with circulation disorders or diabetes should see their podiatrist right away for treatment if they notice symptoms of a fungal infection. Not seeking treatment could greatly increase a person’s risk for bacterial infections and other potentially serious complications.
There are many over-the-counter products available to treat fungal infections. You will want to find a treatment that is geared specifically to treating fungal infections of the nail. Talk with your local pharmacist to find out the best treatment option. Over-the-counter antifungal medications often come in the form of a cream, ointment or nail polish that you will need to apply regularly for several weeks. If these medications don’t work then it’s time to talk with your foot doctor.
A foot doctor offers a variety of effective strategies for getting rid of toenail fungal infections. The most common treatment option is an oral antifungal medication that works systemically to kill the fungus. This medication is taken for several weeks but you won’t actually see results until the nail grows out clear, which can take up to four months or longer.
Other treatment options include:
- Medicated nail polish
- Laser fungal treatment
- Nail removal surgery (in rare cases)
If you are dealing with a pesky nail fungus then turn to your podiatrist to discover the best strategies for getting rid of this infection as quickly as possible.
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:
- Wash your feet with soap and water daily, and dry them with a clean towel.
- Clip your toenails straight across with a clean clippers.
- Wear clean socks daily.
- Change your gym shoes after a workout. In fact, alternate pairs if possible, letting your footwear dry out between wearings.
- Wear flip-flops or shower sandals in the locker room and poolside, too.
As warm weather approaches, women (and even a growing number of men, like NFL stars Tim Tebow and Victor Cruz) are getting pedicures to improve the way their feet look. For those who opt to get a salon pedicure, we at Advanced Foot & Ankle Care want you to keep three things in mind to have your feet looking and feeling their best all summer long.
Bring Your Own Tools
Unfortunately, not all tools at nail salons are sterilized properly. For this reason, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself at nail salons is to invest in your own set of tools. By bringing your own set of tools, you can decrease the risk of infection since these instruments haven’t been used on anyone else. If you do not wish to invest in your own kit, do make sure that the tools they are about to use have been sterilized.
Only Cut Nails Straight Across
Make sure that your technician uses a toenail clipper that has a straight edge and cuts your toenails straight across. This is also a good practice to keep at home if you ever cut your own toenails, as cutting them straight across helps prevent painful ingrown toenails. If you are experiencing an ingrown toenail, avoid the salon and make an appointment to have it examined by one of our podiatrists.
Only Color Healthy Nails
If your nails look healthy, feel free to have them painted. However, if your nails are yellow, thick, or brittle, do not try to cover them up with nail polish. Since these are symptoms of nail fungus, call any of our offices: Huber Heights, Troy, Piqua and Sidney, to make an appointment to have them examined by one of our physicians. We at Advanced Foot & Ankle Care have a wide variety of treatment options, including our Cutera Laser, which can kill fungus without damaging the surrounding tissue.
We are very excited to receive our new Cutera laser in our Huber Heights office! This is one of the most high-tech lasers on the market. The reason that we at Advanced Foot and Ankle Care purchased this laser is because this particular laser can do things that others cannot. This laser can eliminate unsightly veins in the legs and arms without burning the skin. It passes through the skin cauterizing the small vessels making them disappear before your very eyes. Another reason that we purchased the Cutera Xeo is its ability to kill fungus in toenails without harming the tissues that it passed through. This is performed without the use of anesthesia and little to no pain usually in one treatment. The reception if this laser has been phenomenal. Its ability to do things that other lasers cannot do has been unparalleled in the field of lasers in the last 20 years. This is the most exciting innovation yet! Many of the lesser expensive lasers create additional heat and have only a one to two millimeter spot size. The Xeo has a variable spot size up to 10mm, making its efficiency to clear lesions unbeaten. Additionally, spots and varicose veins disappear before your very eyes. To accomplish these feats, a very specific wavelength of light is utilized in a highly focused manner, requiring a very sophisticated patented computerized feedback mechanisms to assure that tissue is not being over heated or harmed, only targeting the pathologic tissues. Additionally, this laser is capable of reducing the size and appearance of scars almost instantaneously. As far as we know, we are the only office in the state of Ohio to have such a laser that can perform all of the above functions without harming the adjacent tissues targeting only what we want to remove while leaving a very satisfactory result.