Warmer weather is on the horizon, which means it’s time to ditch the boots and break out the sandals and open-toed shoes! Maybe you’re dreading the impending change in footwear because you’ve been suffering from toenail fungus. Guess what? You don’t have to be embarrassed about your feet or live with toenail fungus – there are plenty of ways to treat it! Read all about toenail fungus, what to look for, and how you can get yours treated:
What Is Toenail Fungus?
Also known as onychomycosis, toenail fungus causes thick, unsightly, discolored nails. The affected nails can often be irritating and painful, and they are also a big source of discomfort and embarrassment for patients. It isn’t unusual for many people with toenail fungus to hide their feet or paint over their toenails with nail polish. Unfortunately, without treatment the problem can get much worse – the fungus can spread to other toenails or even your fingernails and can wind up causing greater pain and discomfort, which may lead to difficulties with walking.
What Causes Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus’s favorite environment is someplace dark, damp, and warm – much like the inside of your shoes or socks. If you maintain this environment for a prolonged period of time or if you walk around barefoot in damp public locations like locker rooms, showers, or swimming pools, you could risk getting toenail fungus. Toenail fungus can also arise after your toenails experience some type of trauma (like stubbing your toe on furniture). The nail bed is lifted, which gives the fungus the green light to step inside and invade your nail. You may also be at a greater risk for developing toenail fungus if you suffer from pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, immune-deficiency, and circulatory issues.
What Are the Symptoms of Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus can be a little tricky to spot, especially in the beginning. You’ll want to be on the lookout for the following signs:
- Discolored or yellowing nail
- Disfigured nails
- Foul-smelling debris under the nail
- Pain and discomfort
- Streaks or spots down the side of the nail
- Swelling around the nail
- Thickening or crumbling of the nail
- Total loss of the nail
If you happen to notice one or more of these symptoms, especially if your nail’s shape, color, or texture has changed, make an appointment with us right away!
How Can You Prevent Toenail Fungus?
Getting rid of toenail fungus can be challenging, so it’s wise to play defense and work on preventing it from happening in the first place! Here are our favorite pro-tips for helping you prevent toenail fungus:
- Always wear shoes in public areas like locker rooms, pools, and showers.
- Avoid wearing nail polish for long periods of time, which prevents the nail from breathing and can provide that dark environment fungus loves.
- Change your gym shoes once you’ve finished working out. If possible, alternate pairs to let your footwear dry out completely.
- Clip your toenails straight across. You can always round them with a file afterward!
- Try not to cut your nails too short – this can cause trauma to the nail, which can lead to infection.
- Wash your feet every day with soap and water. Dry them completely, especially before wearing socks and shoes.
- Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes with a roomy toe box.
- Wear clean, moisture-wicking socks every day. Change out of them as soon as possible if your feet are wet or sweaty.
- Use clean toenail clippers whenever you trim your nails.
How Is Toenail Fungus Treated?
Toenail fungus may be stubborn to treat, especially if it’s been around for a long time. Fortunately, there are several ways it can be treated! If you have a mild case of nail fungus, you might be able to take care of it with a few home remedies like keeping your feet clean and disinfecting your shoes on a regular basis, but it’s always best to see a podiatrist to help you get rid of the problem. Your foot doctor may remove some of the infected nail by trimming or filing it, and you may be given a prescription for oral or topical antifungal medications to treat the infection. Severe cases may involve surgical removal of the nail.
Laser treatments such as the PinPointe Laser are also available to eradicate toenail fungus! This amazing procedure tackles toenail fungus quickly and effectively without any need for medication or anesthesia. The laser is designed to focus solely on the infection and vaporize the fungus embedded deeply within your nail bed, all without affecting the healthy tissue nearby! The process is safe, virtually pain-free, requires little to no downtime, and you can get the procedure done on your lunch break – it’s that quick!
Schedule Your Appointment with The Foot & Ankle Center! Don’t let toenail fungus get you down – get it taken care of by entrusting the knowledgeable and friendly doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center! We have the expertise and the state-of-the-art equipment to help get your toenails looking and feeling back to normal. Call us today at (314) 487-9300 to schedule your appointment or request an appointment with us online!