How Do You Know If You Have Toenail Fungus?
A common condition, toenail fungus often starts with white or yellow spots at the tip of your toenail, and over time, the discoloration can spread across your whole nail.
If your toenail fungal infection progresses, it can cause your nails to thicken and become brittle. In some cases, your toenail may become ridged or bumpy. When toenail fungus goes untreated, it can build up beneath your nail, and in some cases, the nail may loosen from the skin or fall off.
What Causes Toenail Fungus?
If you have athlete’s foot or another foot fungus, it can quickly spread and infect your toenails. Walking barefoot in warm, wet environments, such as public showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools can also lead to toenail fungus.
If you let your toenails stay wet for an extended period — for instance, wearing the same pair of wet or sweaty socks all day — you may be more likely to develop toenail fungus.
How Do You Prevent Toenail Fungus?
In many cases, you can prevent toenail fungus, avoiding future infections. Some of the easiest ways of doing this are:
- Keeping your feet clean with daily washing
- Trimming your toenails straight across
- Wearing sweat-absorbing socks and changing them when they get wet
- Opting for breathable shoes
- Wearing shoes around swimming pools and locker rooms
How Is Toenail Fungus Treated?
The severity of your toenail fungus determines how your podiatrist decides to treat it. In mild cases, they often suggest an over-the-counter topical cream or lotion.
If you don’t see any improvements, your doctor may recommend a prescription antifungal treatment in the form of a cream or lacquer, or in severe cases, an oral antifungal medication. They may also suggest laser treatments for killing the fungus.
When the infection has spread beneath the nail, and the nail has loosened from the skin, your podiatrist may opt to remove the nail surgically.
Don’t let toenail fungus keep you from showing off those toes — contact Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists today.