Toenail Fungus Treatment
DO YOUR TOENAILS APPEAR YELLOW, BRITTLE, OR UGLY?
In reality, the condition is an infection underneath the surface of the nail caused by fungi. When the tiny organisms take hold, the nail often becomes darker in color and foul smelling. Debris may collect beneath the nail plate, white marks frequently appear on the nail plate and the infection is capable of spreading to other toenails, the skin, or even the fingernails. If ignored, the infection can spread and possibly impair one’s ability to work or even walk. This happens because the resulting thicker nails are difficult to trim and make walking painful when wearing shoes. Onychomycosis can also be accompanied by a secondary bacterial or yeast infection in or about the nail plate.
Because it is difficult to avoid contact with microscopic organisms like fungi, the toenails are especially vulnerable around damp areas where people are likely to be walking barefoot, such as swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers, for example. Injury to the nail bed may make it more susceptible to all types of infection, including fungal infection. Those who suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immune-deficiency conditions, are especially prone to fungal nails. Other contributing factors may be a history of athlete’s foot and excessive perspiration.
CAUSES OF fungal nails
- The spread of athlete’s foot to the nails
- Shoes and socks create a warm, dark and humid environment, which encourages fungal growth
- Systemic disease
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Practice good foot hygiene, including daily washing of the feet with soap and water; drying feet carefully, especially between the toes; changing shoes regularly
- Keep shoes and socks dry as a preventative measure
- Wear shoes made of materials that breathe
- Wear socks made of fibers that “wick” away moisture faster than cotton socks
- Avoid wearing excessively tight hosiery, which promotes moisture
- Shower shoes should be worn when possible in public areas
- Disinfect home pedicure tools and instruments used to cut nails
- Don’t apply polish to nails suspected of infection-those that are red, discoloured or swollen
WHAT CAN YOUR PODIATRISTS DO?
- Perform a physical examination
- Culture the infected nail
- Prescribe appropriate anti-fungals
- Perform debridement or removal of the nail as indicated