One of the more common toenail issues we treat for patients is fungal toenails. For some, this can seem to be a fairly superficial matter. In reality, a case of toenail fungus can detract from someone’s quality of life by causing embarrassment, self-consciousness, and a reluctance to walk barefoot or wear sandals. In addition, any type of infection is a concern for a diabetic patient.
Our practice’s goal is to take away these concerns by providing professional care to address this problem and clear up fungal toenails.
Why Fungal Toenails Develop and How to Recognize Them
These nail infections are often caused by a dermatophyte fungus (a microscopic organism). Since this particular fungus doesn’t need sunlight to survive, it can live and grow in environments that are dark, damp and warm (which can accurately describe feet that are covered in socks and shoes!).
Microscopic fungal spores are actually found all around us—which is why we say “there is fungus among us”—but are more prevalent in warm, moist places like swimming pool decks, gym locker room floors, and communal showering areas. Once you are in one of these places, all it takes is a tiny cut or small separation between a nail and its nailbed for the dermatophyte to enter and become a fungal infection.
Recognizing a case of toenail fungus (onychomycosis) is the first step to receiving the treatment you need. The most obvious symptom of this condition is discolored (typically yellow) nail tissue, but others include toenails that are:
- Dull in appearance and lack the shine of healthy nails
- Darkened in color, which can be attributed to debris buildup under the surface of the infected nail
- Ragged, brittle, or crumbly
- Thickened and/or distorted in shape
- Emitting a funky odor
- Separated from the nailbed
If you have diabetes, you should already know how important diabetic foot care is for keeping your feet safe. An essential component of your foot care plan is inspecting your feet every day for anything unusual, and especially infections.
Those who live with diabetes have a greater risk of infection than otherwise healthy individuals. This can be attributed to the effect diabetes has on the body’s white blood cells – the ones responsible for fighting against infection. If you are diabetic and suspect you have contracted a case of fungal toenails, come see us as soon as possible.
Treating Fungal Nails
A fungal infection will not simply go away on its own—you need to attack it with the right treatment. It can be a resistant infection, even more so when it has progressed to an advanced stage.
It is important to mention that fungal infections are quite stubborn. Seeking treatment from Capital District Podiatry at the earliest possible opportunity is best for optimal (and quicker) results.
We have several treatment options to get your nails back to health, but it may take some patience and diligent effort along the way. Treatments include over-the-counter antifungal creams, the Cutera Nail Laser treatment, prescription ointments, and oral antifungal medications. In severe cases, surgery may be considered to remove the infected nail.
Additionally, we are pleased to offer another advanced option—in addition to our laser treatment—which is the revolutionary ClearANail treatment.
ClearANail uses Controlled Micro Penetration (CMP) to make tiny holes in the nail plate with a miniature, automated drill. This finely-calibrated drill can sense when it has gone through the nail and then stops, so as not to harm or disturb the nailbed. The microscopic holes in the toenails then enable greater concentration of topical medications to reach beneath the nail tissue, thereby making them more effective.
Fungal Toenail Prevention
Even better than treating a fungal infection is to prevent one from happening. Now, it can be difficult to completely eliminate all risk, but you can certainly lower the odds of sustaining this infection. Some tips to keep your nails fungal-free include:
- Keep your feet dry, especially the areas between your toes
- Wash your feet every day with soap and water
- Wear clean shower shoes or sandals in locker rooms, gym showers, and on pool decks
- Wear socks that wick away moisture
- Choose footwear that allows your feet to breathe
- Keep your nails properly trimmed
- Use antifungal powder or spray in your shoes
Professional Fungal Nail Care at Capital District Podiatry
You do not have to resign to living with ugly nails from toenail fungus! We can provide expert care and treatment no matter how severe your problem, and restore your toenail health once and for all. Contact Dr. Tejas Pandya in Troy, NY, for treatment today by calling (518) 273-0053, or use our appointment request option online.