By JAY MERMELSTEIN, DPM
May 29, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Toenail Fungus
Onychomycosis is the technical term for toenail fungus. It’s when fungus gets under the nail and causes an infection. You’ll notice that the nail changes color and starts emitting an odor. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the other toes and even the fingers. The best thing to do is to schedule an appointment with your local podiatrist.
What Causes Toenail Fungus?
Your feet are vulnerable to fungi and bacteria due to their location on the body. This is especially true if you go barefoot in damp areas like locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools. Your feet come in direct contact with these pathogens. An injury to the nail bed also opens your body up to infection. Even the smallest cut provides an opening for bacteria. Other possible risk factors include pre-existing medical conditions like immune-deficiency, diabetes, circulatory problems, and other chronic illnesses.
Podiatry Treatment for Toenail Fungus
Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist right away when you notice differences in the appearance of your toenail. This includes any thickening, discoloration, or deformity. Your podiatrist will first need to make a diagnosis before treatment starts. This is done through a simple lab test.
The first line of treatment includes oral and topical antifungal. Topical antifungal medication or cream is applied directly to the nail. Oral antifungal is taken just like regular medication. These are also more effective. You will take the oral antifungal for approximately three months.
For severe cases, patients require surgery. That’s why it’s so important to seek treatment from your foot doctor right away. They can help you before it gets to this point. Otherwise, your podiatrist performs a temporary removal of the nail. This gives your doctor space to evenly apply the topical antifungal.
Toenails that don’t respond to any treatment need permanent nail removal. This eliminates the fungal infection while getting rid of the damaged nail.
At-Home Solutions for Toenail Fungus
There are a few things you can do at home to help treat your toenail fungus. A strict cleaning regime can relieve mild infections. Patients have found success in filing off the white marks and then applying over-the-counter antifungal agents. These do not stop infections from coming back, which is why we encourage patients to seek treatment from a medical professional.