Toenail fungus is a common problem that can turn into a painful situation. Once the fungus is contracted it develops and grows underneath the toenail. This can cause the toenail to become discolored, thick and have an unnatural appearance. The good news is that there are a variety of toenail fungus treatments available.
Initially toenail fungus can appear as a white or yellow spot located underneath the tip of the nail. Over time the toenail becomes thick and distorted as the infection grows and spreads. Eventually the infected toenail can separate from the toe. It can cause pain on the tips of the toes and even provide a horrible odor.
Contracting Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus, or Onychomycosis, is found most often in dark, heated and moist environments. This means people can get the fungus from showers, gym locker rooms, swimming pools and more. People who have diabetes, previous cases of athlete’s foot, or auto-immune deficiencies have a greater chance of being infected. Toenail fungus will usually enter the body through a cut in the skin or an opening in the toenail.
There are anti-fungal creams people can obtain over the counter. Their effectiveness has always been uncertain. A Edwardsville foot doctor could provide oral anti-fungal medications. They come with a minor risk of side effects that range from skin rashes to liver damage. They are more effective than creams, but usually must be taken for several weeks. Another way to handle toenail fungus is with nail lacquer. It is painted directly onto the nail each day for a week. Then the layers are wiped off with alcohol and the process is repeated. This can be done for twelve months but has a very low success rate.
The newest form of non-surgical treatment is laser treatment for toenail fungus. This involves targeting a laser beam on the affected nails. The laser beam generates heat to vaporize the fungus without causing damage to the nail or underlying nail bed. The results aren’t instantaneous, the new healthy nail grows back normally only after the fungus is destroyed. Unlike some medications the laser treatment for nail fungus does not have any of the undesirable side effects.
In severe situations the infected toenail may need to be completely removed. In a non-surgical procedure, urea ointment is applied to the nail to make it soft and causing it to dissolve. In a surgical procedure, the toenail and a small amount of tissue is removed. Surgical procedures are seldom necessary.
If you have toenail fungus and want to have it examined by our Edwardsville podiatrists, contact our office today.
Next Step Foot and Ankle Centers is a Edwardsville podiatry office that specializes in the treatment of toenail fungus.