Everything You Need to Know to Treat Your Toenail Fungus
Our feet are one of the few areas of our bodies that we may often overlook. After all, when your feet are stowed away in your socks or shoes all day, you might only really see them when you go to bathe or kick back after a long day. One common issue that many people face is toenail fungus. But while this condition might be common, not everyone knows what fungal toenails look like, what causes them, or even how to treat them.
If you believe that you have fungal toenails, here’s everything you need to know to successfully treat your toenail fungus.
What Is Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus is a common condition that impacts at least one in ten people. Fungal nail infections describe the condition in which the toenail begins to become discolored, brittle, thick, or even break off in several places. Most fungal infections are non-painful. However, some can be painful, and these infections can do a great deal of damage to your nails in the process, especially if it’s allowed to spread to other toes along the way.
What Are the Symptoms of Toenail Fungus?
The difficulty with spotting fungal toenails is that you might not always be aware that there’s an issue at first. Most fungal infections start with a small spot of discoloration underneath the nail that’s either yellow or white. However, once it begins to spread, the change will become quite clear. Some of the symptoms that become quite apparent if you have toenail fungus are:
- Thickened toenails, sometimes with toenails growing underneath as the infected toenail remains attached.
- Whitish to yellow-brown discoloration of the toenails.
- Brittle and crumbly nails. Nails may also become jagged or ragged if pieces of the nail fall off.
- Nails that are distorted in shape.
- A dark color caused by debris gathering under the nail. You should only worry about dark colors being blood if you have pain, which might cause tenderness and bleeding.
- A slightly foul smell emanating from your toenail.
Overall, the symptoms of toenail fungus are quite recognizable. If you have any or all of the above, you likely have a fungal infection.
Fungal Nail Risk Factors
What causes toenail fungus? If you already have a fungal infection, you might be looking to avoid potentially spreading it to other nails or getting it again once your current infection clears up (although there is a higher likelihood for fungal infections to come back once they’ve already happened). Some of the risk factors that lead to fungal infections of the toes include:
- Being older. Older people have reduced blood flow, which is why this population is more vulnerable to fungal infections.
- Sweating heavily can lead to moisture building up and causing fungal infections.
- Having a history of athlete’s foot.
- Walking barefoot in damp communal areas where fungus thrives and fungal infections tend to be spread most.
- Having a minor skin or nail injury.
- Having skin conditions such as psoriasis that affects the nails.
- Having diabetes or being immunocompromised increases your risk of being prone to infection. Those who have diabetes may also experience other foot issues, like diabetic neuropathy, and may heal from these types of infections less effectively than other populations who have fungal toenails.
Some of these risk factors may be unavoidable, but others can be navigated with caution to reduce your risk of dealing with toenail fungus in the future.
Toenail Fungus Prevention
Taking the proper preventative measures can be the best way to reduce the chances that you experience future fungal infections. Here are a few tips that will help you focus on prevention moving forward.
- Wash your hands and feet regularly to make sure that they’re clean and that no infection is allowed to spread. Always dry your hands and feet and make sure to disinfect if you come into contact with another infected nail.
- Trim nails straight across and keep them as short as possible. The more space that fungal infections have to grow in, the greater the chances of you developing one.
- Disinfect nail clippers after every use to make sure that they’re clean, especially if you’re using your clippers to clip fungal toenails.
- Wear moisture-wicking socks. Without moisture, you can prevent fungal infections from ever happening. This is especially important if you have a disease like diabetes.
- Choose shoes that are made out of breathable materials to give your feet plenty of airflow.
- Discard old shoes that could potentially still have fungus.
- Wear footwear in damp communal areas like gym showers and beyond. Simple flip-flops will suffice!
As long as you observe all of the above, you should be able to greatly reduce your risk of dealing with toenail fungus.
There are several forms of treatment that you can use to address toenail fungus. Let’s take a closer look at some options we have at your disposal.
Genesis Laser Treatment
Genesis Laser Treatment is designed for those with fungal toenails that could not be treated with oral or topical medications. This form of treatment employs a 1064 nm laser to the fungus underneath the nail, irradiating with little discomfort over an average of three treatment sessions.
Lunula Laser Treatment
Lunula Laser Treatment is similar to Genesis Laser Treatment, using a pain-free, non-thermal, FDA-cleared laster across four, 12-minute sessions to effectively treat toenail fungus. An additional one to two sessions may be required for those with severe cases.
Contact Us Today
Are you ready to turn your toenail fungus around? Are you ready to show your feet to the world and feel more confident? Do you want to get rid of discoloration, pain, odor, and flaking? If so, Hicksville Podiatry is here to help! We support those in the Hicksville, New York, areas and surrounding areas, providing minimally-invasive and non-invasive treatments to help people achieve a more active, mobile, and healthy lifestyle. Learn more about how we can help you address your toenail fungus by scheduling an appointment with us today!