Toenail Fungus Infection
Beautiful Toenails Start Here: Expert Podiatrists for Effective Management of Fungal Toenails
Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a common fungal infection that affects the toenails and fingernails. Nail fungus is predominantly in toenails than in fingernails, as the feet are often enclosed in shoes and socks, creating a warm and moist environment that is conducive to fungal growth. It is caused by various fungi, including dermatophytes, yeasts, and moulds, that thrive in warm and humid environments.
Causes Of Toenail Fungus
Nail fungus can enter the nail through small cracks or injuries to the nail or surrounding skin, or through the space between the nail and the nail bed. Once inside the nail, the fungus can cause the nail to become thickened, discoloured, brittle, and distorted in shape. It can also cause a foul odour and pain or discomfort in the affected area.
Risk Factors for Toenail Fungus
Certain factors can increase your risk of developing toenail fungus. These include:
- Using contaminated nail clipper: If the tools used during a pedicure are not adequately sterilised or disinfected between customers, they can harbour fungi and other pathogens that can be spread to the nails.
- Nail trauma: Injuries to the nail, such as from sports or other activities, can make it easier for fungus to penetrate the nail.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing toenail fungus due to poor circulation and a weakened immune system.
- Poor hygiene: Failure to keep the feet clean and dry can create a favourable environment for fungal growth.
- Tight shoes: Wearing shoes that are too tight can create pressure on the toenails, making them more susceptible to injury and infection.
Symptoms of Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Thickened toenails
- Discolouration of the nail (usually yellow or brown)
- Brittle or crumbly nails
- Debris under the nail
- Foul odor
- Pain or discomfort in the affected area
A podiatrist can diagnose a fungal nail by conducting a physical examination and taking a sample of the affected nail for laboratory analysis. Here are the steps your podiatrist may take:
- Physical examination: The podiatrist will examine the affected nail and look for signs of a fungal infection, such as thickening, discolouration, and a brittle texture.
- Nail clipping: The podiatrist may clip a small sample of the affected nail to send to a laboratory for analysis. This is usually a painless procedure.
- Differential diagnosis: Your podiatrist may also rule out other conditions that may mimic a fungal nail, such as psoriasis, eczema, or nail trauma.
Once a fungal infection is confirmed, your podiatrist will develop a treatment plan based on the severity of the infection. This may include oral or topical anti-fungal medication, debridement (removing damaged nail tissue), or laser therapy.
Addressing Toenail Fungus Concerns
If you suspect you have toenail fungus, a podiatrist can aid in the managment of the condition using:
- Topical anti-fungal medications: These are applied directly to the affected nail and can be effective for mild to moderate cases of toenail fungus.
- Phototherapy: This involves undergoing of a specific wavelength of phototherapy treatment (ToeFX or PACTMed) to kill the fungus in the affected nail.
- Surgical nail removal: In severe cases of toenail fungus, the affected nail may need to be removed to allow for more effective treatment.
Prevention of Toenail Fungus
Taking good care of your feet is important; here are six tips that you can refer. This includes:
- Keep your feet clean and dry: Fungi thrive in warm and moist environments, so dry your feet thoroughly after bathing or swimming and change your socks and shoes regularly to prevent sweat buildup.
- Wear breathable footwear: Choose shoes made of breathable materials, such as leather or mesh, to allow air circulation around your feet. Avoid tight-fitting shoes or boots that trap moisture.
- Use anti-fungal powders or sprays: Apply anti-fungal powders or sprays on your feet and inside your shoes to kill any existing fungi and prevent new ones from growing.
- Trim your toenails regularly: Keeping your toenails trimmed and clean can prevent debris from accumulating under them, which can create a breeding ground for fungi.
- Avoid sharing personal items: Toenail fungus is highly contagious, so avoid sharing personal items such as nail clippers, socks, and shoes with others.
- Stay healthy: A weakened immune system can make you more susceptible to fungal infections. Ensure you maintain a healthy diet, get enough rest, and exercise regularly to boost your immune system.
Fungal Free Toenail begins at Dr Foot Podiatry Clinic
Are you tired of hiding your feet in embarrassment? Don't let nail fungus keep you from showing off your toes! Our expert podiatrists are here to help you get rid of unsightly nail fungus. Using state-of-the-art treatments and techniques, we'll have your feet looking and feeling healthy again in no time. Book an appointment today and step out with confidence!