Fungi that reside on the body can become overgrown over time in, or on, the toenail. This can result in an infection known as onychomycosis. You can also pick up the infection through contact with someone who has it. Further, this fungal infection can be transmitted through contact with toenail clippers, nail files or pedicure instruments at a salon where fungi are present. Older adults — whose drier nails make it easier for fungi to enter the nail — are more prone to developing fungal infections, as well as those who wear fake nails, use public swimming/showering areas, have diabetes, poor circulation, a nail injury, or a weakened immune system. People whose feet are confined to warm, moist environments where fungi thrive (i.e., dark boots or sneakers) are also more at risk of developing fungal nails. Fungal nail symptoms include brittle, thickened, discolored or distorted nails, which can sometimes be accompanied by odor or pain. While some people try to treat fungal toenail infections at home, the fungi are very stubborn and resilient. Professional treatment from a podiatrist is often necessary to quickly and completely eradicate the infection, and prevent it from recurring.
If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, contact the foot specialists of Marvel Foot & Ankle Centers. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
- Warped or oddly shaped nails
- Yellowish nails
- Loose/separated nail
- Buildup of bits and pieces of nail fragments under the nail
- Brittle, broken, thickened nail
If self-care strategies and over-the-counter medications does not help your fungus, your podiatrist may give you a prescription drug instead. Even if you find relief from your toenail fungus symptoms, you may experience a repeat infection in the future.
In order to prevent getting toenail fungus in the future, you should always make sure to wash your feet with soap and water. After washing, it is important to dry your feet thoroughly especially in between the toes. When trimming your toenails, be sure to trim straight across instead of in a rounded shape. It is crucial not to cover up discolored nails with nail polish because that will prevent your nail from being able to “breathe”.
In some cases, surgical procedure may be needed to remove the toenail fungus. Consult with your podiatrist about the best treatment options for your case of toenail fungus.