What are the risk factors for fungal toenails?
The risk factors for fungal toenails are actually behavioral. Most types of fungus — whether it’s growing on your lawn, your food or your foot – thrive in moist environments.
So if you spend a lot of time at public pools, at the gym or showering at the fitness center, there’s a good chance you will get one of these delightful little fungi at some point.
Or if you sweat a lot.
Or wear air-tight shoes, which trap moisture.
Or especially if you sweat a lot and wear air-tight shoes.
Foot fungi love that! There’s no way around it, this issue is COMMON!
Fungal infections can also result from pedicures if the utensils are not properly sterilized.
How can I tell if I have toenail fungus?
The symptoms are fairly easy to recognize, with the most obvious sign being discoloration that starts as a yellowish or white spot just under the tip of the nail and darkens as it progresses throughout the nail. Other symptoms include nails that are thickened, brittle, distorted, crumbling at the edges or detached.
We can often diagnose the problem usually just by the appearance, but it will take testing a piece of the nail to pinpoint the exact type of fungal infection. We may have to lightly scrape or clip the nail for testing at the time of your appointment.
What is the treatment for thick and discolored nails?
The treatment will depend on the type and severity of the infection. Options for treatment include:
- Prescribing an oral anti-fungal medication or vitamins, such as Theranail, which help your toe grow a new healthy nail;
- Applying topical medication, such as an anti-fungal lacquer that can clear up fungal infections
- Use of an FDA cleared laser to increase the appearance of clear nails.(Please bring a list of other medications you are on to your appointment, as some anti-fungals used to treat this condition should not be used if you’re on certain types of medications.)
Over-the-counter creams do not eliminate most fungal infections, so we recommend you come in for an appointment rather than trying to treat this condition yourself. It typically won’t go away, and it’s likely to return and spread to other toes and maybe even other body parts if left untreated.
In more advanced or persistent cases, we might need to remove the nail, but only as a last resort. We’ll use a local anesthetic so you won’t feel any pain and a new toenail will most likely grow in its place. Either way, no toenail is better than a funky toenail.
Toenail fungus can lead to permanent damage and will not get better on its own, so call us at the first sign.
If you are experiencing a fungal nail infection, call our office at 859-264-1141 to make an appointment.