Fungal toenails are not only unattractive; they can become problematic and even downright painful, robbing you of enjoying your everyday activities! What starts out as an embarrassing condition can eventually cause you difficulty wearing shoes, pain when you walk and an epidemic that spreads to your other toes. It’s stubborn, too and takes patience and perseverance to overcome. However, at Prairie Path Podiatry, we can help you fight the intruder and teach that fungi a lesson!
A Case of Breaking and Entering
All it takes is the tiniest of breaks in the skin for fungi to enter and wreak havoc. A nail slightly pulled away from its bed, a blister or scrape on your toe or a torn cuticle are all just enough to find yourself in trouble. This is especially true if you walk barefoot on a pool deck, locker room floor, gym shower stall or other places that provide similar damp surfaces where fungi thrive. When the microorganisms take up camp beneath your toenail, a fungal infection is not far behind. Medically known as onychomycosis, toenail fungus can easily be spotted in a lineup of healthy nails.
Look for These Clues
With a little detective work you can recognize a fungal infection by the tell-tale clues it leaves behind. Often it starts with a yellow or white spot. As the infection takes hold the discoloration can spread, turning your nail a dull yellow and brown. You can judge by the shape of the nail, too, as it can become distorted, rising higher and allowing for debris to collect and build up underneath. Your nail will be thick, brittle and crumbly, as well and may even emit a foul odor—no disguising any of that!
Policing the Problem
Just because you contract a fungal toenail infection doesn’t mean it’s a life sentence for unsightly and uncomfortable feet. Over-the-counter treatment options are typically not overly effective but there are stronger topical and oral medications that can be prescribed. Laser treatment is another great option that uses concentrated beams of light to penetrate the nail and eradicate the fungi at its source without damaging any of the surrounding skin.
The Power of Prevention
Solving the mystery of why you got a fungal toenail infection offers insight as to how you can avoid one in the future! Be sure to keep feet clean and dry, That goes for your shoes and socks, too. Slip on some shower shoes or sandals when walking in public areas that provide the perfect environment for fungi to find you. Dust or spray your feet, as well as your shoes, with antifungal products. Disinfect nail clippers between uses and be sure your shoes fit properly and are made from breathable materials.
You can find out more facts about fungal toenails and how you can stop them by calling our Geneva, IL office at (630) 845-3338 or by using our online contact form. It’s time you put up a fight against fungi!