Fungal Nails

This article does not constitute as medical advice.
If you are experiencing symptoms of fungal nails, contact your doctor or make an appointment.

What are Fungal Nails?

Fungal infections can occur underneath the surface of the nail. The fungus attacks the nail, makes it discolored, thickened, and brittle. Nail infections can occur as a single condition or in conjunction with other conditions like Athlete’s foot or other bacterial and yeast infections. In addition, fungal infections can spread to other toenails, skin, and fingernails. These infections are prone to returning, so proper treatment is imperative.

Causes of Fungal Nails

  • Walking barefoot in wet and damp conditions: Fungal infections and Athlete’s foot are often found around swimming pools and public showers. 
  • Excessive perspiration: Feet that tend to be clammy are more prone to fungal infections because they are constantly wet
  • Poorly ventilated shoes and socks: Footwear that traps moisture in and causes wet shoes or socks can cause this condition. 
  • Sharing nail clippers, socks, and shoes: Nail salons that don’t correctly sanitize their tools are likely to spread around contaminations. Likewise, if you share footwear with an individual who has a fungal infection, you may be infected as well. 
  • Injury to the nail: Open wounds around the nail or skin conditions such as psoriasis can make patients predisposed. 
  • Conditions like diabetes or immune-deficiency disorders: Diseases that limit blood circulation can make foot injuries or infections into more significant complications. Additionally, people with a tendency for Athlete’s foot are more prone to fungal nail infections.

Symptoms of Fungal Nails

  • Minor Cases: Many times, people with this condition aren’t aware that they have it! There is little to no discomfort in these events. Individuals should check their nail health to see if the bed has thickened, if there is any discoloration, or if it has become too brittle.
  • Severe Cases: When the fungus has penetrated and damages the nail’s keratin, patients typically feel intense pain. If one is experiencing pain while wearing shoes while walking, this is a telltale sign of a fungal infection. The toenail may start to have a foul odor as well. 

Treating Fungal Nails

Prevention: Being conscious of your foot health in your day-to-day activities can help prevent this nail infection. We recommend: 

  • Ensuring your shoes are dry and ventilated. 
  • Changing into clean, dry cotton socks often.
  • Wash, clean and dry feet regularly. 
  • Use foot powders to keep extremities dry. 
  • Wear shoes in public pools, showers, and other public areas. 
  • Choose a nail salon that properly sanitizes its tools. 
  • Give your toes a break from pedicures every so often to let nailbeds breathe. 

Treatment: When you have already experienced symptoms, at home or medical treatment is necessary. 

  • Patients can use over-the-counter ointments, cream, and medicated liquid treatments that can be applied to the affected nail. 
  • Home remedies such as applying tea tree oil to the infection. 
  • Prescribed or over-the-counter oral medications.  
  • In extreme cases, there is a chance to recommend the partial or complete removal of the nail. 
  • If you are experiencing intense pain, please contact our office 
  • If you are a patient with diabetes or circulatory issues, please contact our office with any infections or wounds on the foot. 

 

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Nail Fungus three images in three stages

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