Fungal toenail infections, also known as onychomycosis, are common infections that lead to the nails becoming discolored, yellowed, thickened, and brittle, often causing them to break. They are usually caused by fungi or yeast that enter into small cracks in the nail, ultimately infecting them. While toenail infections can affect people of any age, they are more likely in patients who have a nail injury, a weakened immune system, are older, or have athlete’s foot. The easiest way to prevent these infections is to keep the toes clean and dry. Fungi thrives in warm and moist environments, so it is important to not walk barefoot in public locker rooms and showers. Because fungal nail infections are difficult to cure, it is important to visit with a podiatrist if you notice signs of toenail fungus.
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 one of our podiatrists of Parkwood Podiatry. 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.