Posts for tag: toenail fungus
Toenail fungus is a common problem that can be rather challenging to get rid of. While toenail fungus can happen to anyone it most often occurs in older adults. If you are noticing that one of your toenails has thickened, become brittle and turned yellow then chances are good that you are dealing with a toenail fungus.
What causes a fungal infection in the toenail?
A toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is the result of a fungal known as a dermatophyte. While less common, molds and yeasts can also infect the toenails. The reason older adults are more prone to fungal nail infections is because nails dry out as we age, which leads to cracks within the nail. These cracks make it easier for a fungal infection to get inside the nail.
Fungal is all around us. They are more often found in warm, dark, and damp places such as communal locker rooms and showers, gyms, and local swimming pools. It’s also possible to get a toenail fungus from a nail salon so it’s important to know the hygiene and sterilization practices of your local nail salon to make sure that you aren’t at risk for developing a fungal infection.
Treating Toenail Fungus
The good news it that healthy individuals may be able to tackle their toenail fungus on their own with over-the-counter medication. If you don’t have a weak immune system, diabetes or circulation problems then you may choose to try at-home treatments first before turning to a doctor. Those with circulation disorders or diabetes should see their podiatrist right away for treatment if they notice symptoms of a fungal infection. Not seeking treatment could greatly increase a person’s risk for bacterial infections and other potentially serious complications.
There are many over-the-counter products available to treat fungal infections. You will want to find a treatment that is geared specifically to treating fungal infections of the nail. Talk with your local pharmacist to find out the best treatment option. Over-the-counter antifungal medications often come in the form of a cream, ointment or nail polish that you will need to apply regularly for several weeks. If these medications don’t work then it’s time to talk with your foot doctor.
A foot doctor offers a variety of effective strategies for getting rid of toenail fungal infections. The most common treatment option is an oral antifungal medication that works systemically to kill the fungus. This medication is taken for several weeks but you won’t actually see results until the nail grows out clear, which can take up to four months or longer.
Other treatment options include:
- Medicated nail polish
- Laser fungal treatment
- Nail removal surgery (in rare cases)
If you are dealing with a pesky nail fungus then turn to your podiatrist to discover the best strategies for getting rid of this infection as quickly as possible.
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The Causes of Toenail Fungus
Most nail fungal infections are caused by a dermatophyte. However, yeasts or molds can also be to blame. While some fungi are beneficial others can cause infections. Fungi like to live in warm environments like showers and can easily get into the skin through the smallest of cuts (even ones you can’t see). If your toenails are exposed to moist, warm environments they are more susceptible to developing a toenail fungus.
Here are some of the risk factors for developing a nail fungus:
- Working in environments that are conducive to fungal growth
- Heavily perspiring
- Not wearing protective footwear in communal areas like gyms and locker rooms
- Having diabetes or a weakened immune system
- Living with someone who has a toenail fungal infection
As with any health issues, prevention is key. If you are at a higher risk of developing a toenail fungus talk to your Boise foot doctor about the best ways to prevent a fungal infection from happening to you.
What Can Be Done
There are many over-the-counter medications that are usually the best line of defense. This is usually the first thing you should try. Sometimes simple at-home care and non-prescription medications are enough to kill a simple fungal infection. But if you find that these treatments aren’t doing the trick then it’s time to come in for treatment. Also, if you have diabetes, circulation problems or a weakened immune system it’s important that you visit us right away for treatment if you develop symptoms of a toenail fungal infection.
The most common way we treat toenail fungal infections is with medications. This can come in the form of an oral antifungal, which will need to be taken for several weeks. The purpose of these medications is to promote healthy nail growth that is free of infection.
Medicated nail polish or a cream may also be prescribed for the nail. If these medications still don’t offer relief then you may want to consider laser therapy or even surgery to remove the infected nail.
Don’t let a toenail fungus affect your foot health. Turn to Idaho Foot & Ankle Associates in Boise for all of your foot care needs.