What is it?
Are you suffering from white or yellow, brittle or thick toenails? These are signs of onychomycosis, commonly known as toenail fungus. While unsightly, this condition is typically painless, but may be accompanied by a foul odor. Though it is called a fungus, other causes include yeasts and molds. Toenail fungus is contagious and can easily be spread among family members and contracted from public places. Left untreated a fungal infection can cause permanent damage to the nails; and in those with weakened immune systems, the infection can spread beyond the feet.
While anyone can contract toenail fungus, it is more common among the elderly population. It can be picked up from public places such as swimming pools, gyms, and showers. Those patients in immunosuppressed states are also more susceptible to the condition. Other risk factors include: obesity, diabetes, and smoking.
Antifungal topical treatments that are applied directly to the nails are typically recommended. In some cases, an oral medication may also be prescribed. A podiatrist can perform a nail biopsy to determine the type of fungus causing the infection so that the best treatment can be prescribed. In recent years, the FDA has approved the use of laser treatment for toenail fungus. The Cutera Genesis Plus Laser is available to patients in our Willow Street office and has shown to be highly effective in the treatment of toenail fungus.
As with any condition, prevention is key. Keep your nails trimmed properly ensuring not to cut them too short. Wear proper fitting shoes that are breathable and disinfect them with a good spray, often. Synthetic socks help to wick moisture away from the feet keeping them drier than a cotton blend and deterring the growth and spread of fungus. Always avoid going barefoot in public places. If a member of the household is affected, get them treatment immediately to prevent the spread to others.
If you are concerned about your nails, especially if you are diabetic, contact our office today. Toenail fungus is not something that should just be covered up. Let us provide an effective treatment to prevent the spread and transmission of the fungus and get your nails looking their best!