It’s hard to hide the outward signs of a fungal nail infection. Once these undesirable microbes get between the nail and the skin, they can do some very real, very noticeable damage. What begins as a small white or yellow dot near the tip of the nail can grow over time. In a severe case, the symptoms may include:
- Yellowish discoloration throughout the nail
- Significant increase in nail thickness
- Nails that are crumbly, brittle, tear easily, and may even become warped and deformed in appearance
Although these symptoms are more cosmetic than medically serious for most people, they can be deeply distressing and embarrassing. Worse, without corrective measures, they will not get better. In fact, they will only worsen and potentially spread to the skin, other toenails, or even to other people. That’s why you should visit Freeland Foot & Ankle Clinic and take steps to correct the problem as soon as possible.
Learn More: Catch Toenail Fungus Early
Where Toenail Fungus Comes From
This condition, known scientifically as onychomycosis, is caused by a familiar class of skin, nail, and hair-loving organisms that are also responsible for athlete’s foot and ringworm, among others. So for starters, if you have any fungal skin infections, you may have unintentionally transferred them to your toenails through direct or indirect contact. Wearing sweaty shoes often is one way to pick up the infection. Another common potential cause is going barefoot in communal areas such as pools, locker rooms, or gyms.
Fungal nail infections are more likely in older adults as well as those who suffer from diabetes because the reduced circulation makes it harder for the body to fight infection. Minor cuts and skin conditions also present opportunities for the fungi to get under the nail.
Fungal Toenail Treatment
Eradicating a fungal toenail infection takes time and dedication, but it can be done! The fungi won’t go without a fight, but if you are consistent with your treatment you have an excellent chance to restore healthy-looking nails.
A Tip from the Doctor: Check your feet for signs of fungal infections regularly. Call the office to set up a consultation as soon as you notice something is amiss. Because of the lengthy treatment time, getting help for fungal nail issues in the fall or winter can ensure that you are sandal-ready come springtime!
Our office offers a variety of treatment options for people suffering from fungal toenails. We are sure to find a treatment that works for your condition and your lifestyle.
- Topical Antifungal Medications. The topical option is completely non-invasive and free from major side effects. The treatment works as the nail grows out, so results may take longer to become noticeable.
- Oral Antifungal Medication. Before prescribing the oral medication, we will order a series of lab tests to ensure the medication is safe for you to take. You will be on the medication for 12 weeks, at which time we will have you schedule a follow-up visit to check on your progress.
- Laser Nail Therapy is a state-of-the-art, non-invasive alternative to traditional anti-fungal treatments. Ask our helpful staff about packages and scheduling for this effective, pain-free option.
Learn More: Why Laser is the Way to Go For Fungal Nails
Fungal Nail Aftercare
Considering the investment of time required to restore clear nails after a fungal infection, it’s important to protect your nails to prevent a recurrence. It would be a shame to have to go through treatment a second time, so don’t let it happen to you!
To help prevent a re-infection, practice these self-care steps:
- Wash your feet every day and dry them thoroughly.
- Use antifungal powders or sprays on feet and inside shoes.
- Don’t let socks and shoes get damp. Choose breathable fabrics and change pairs as often as needed to keep them dry.
- Always wear shower shoes or sandals (even flip flops) in communal areas.
- Trim nails straight across, not too short, and disinfect your clippers afterward.
- Avoid nail polish and artificial nails, which can trap moisture and create a fungal breeding ground.
- Avoid nail salons. If you do go, make sure all tools and equipment are fully sterilized between customers (or bring your own tools).
Cure Your Fungal Nails Today!
If your toenails are starting to look a little yellowed—or have been for some time—the friendly, caring team at Freeland Foot & Ankle Clinic is ready to help you regain a healthy appearance. Give us a call at (989) 695-6788 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.