Toenail Fungus (Onychomycosis)— Everything You Need to Know
While various fungi grow in the environment, most flourish in moist, dark places. The majority are harmless but can cause health problems if they infiltrate the skin or body. Many individuals suffer from toenail fungus.
Toenail Fungus (Onychomycosis) Overview
It is normal for your feet to sweat after wearing shoes or socks for many hours on end. However, if your feet are constantly locked in a moist environment, fungal infection may occur. Fungi rapidly penetrate cuts or open wounds. Fungal infection of the toenail is called onychomycosos. The fungi irritate the toes and can cause the nail to separate from the foot, signaling nail disease. Onychomycosos should be treated properly to prevent the condition from worsening.
Toenail Fungus (Onychomycosis) Symptoms
If you suspect that you have a fungal nail infection, first check the appearance of your nails. Toenail fungus generally causes thick nails with a greenish, yellowish, or blackish color. If you notice these characteristics, your nails will become brittle and prone to breakage. Sometimes sufferers lose entire toenails.
The skin underneath and surrounding the nail will become inflamed and may become crusty. Yellow or white patches may appear on the nail bed. Sometimes an odor occurs.
Common Causes of Toenail Fungal Infection
Poor blood circulation due to aging or poor health may make it difficult for your body to deliver fresh blood to your toes. Once fungi affect your nails, you may notice that these areas grow more slowly than normal. Your nails may also become thicker and slightly discolored.
Toenail fungal infection may also occur due to poor ventilation in shoes and socks, humid or damp environments, excessive foot perspiration, walking barefoot in shower rooms or gyms, diabetes, and athlete’s foot.
Luckily there are many options for treating an infection. Typically, treatments vary depending on the severity of the condition. Research shows the most effective treatments for toenail fungal infection include:
Usually this is the first treatment prescribed to patients. Administration may include a gel, nail polish, or cream. Over-the-counter anti-fungal creams are available or your doctor can write you a prescription.
For moderate, severe, and stubborn infections, you may consider an oral supplement. Oral medications work faster than topical medications.
When the condition is severe, some doctors may recommend removal of the infected nail. After administering a numbing injection, the doctor gently loosens the nail and separates it from the skin. Only the infected portion of the nail is removed.
Looking for Treatment? Trust the Experts.
At the Foot and Ankle Specialists of New Mexico – Rio Rancho, our experienced doctors can offer a full range of advanced technologies to address nail problems. Irrespective of the severity of your condition, our experts deliver a quick and effective diagnosis to treat even the most severe fungal infections.
Call us today at (505) 814-6466 to schedule a consultation.