Unsightly Toenail Fungus? Afraid It Will Never Go Away? TFC Dispels Nail Fungus Myths
Are your toenails suffering from a fungal infection? While you may worry you’ll never be able to put on opened-toed shoes again, the truth is it’s most likely not as bad as you think, says Greensboro podiatrist Dr. Kathryn Egerton of the Triad Foot Center.
“If your nail is thick white or yellow in color, if it crumbles when touched, or if it has a chalky material beneath the nail, chances are you are suffering from a toenail fungus infection called Onychomycosis. Unsightly toenails, left untreated, can also lead to other problems such as athlete’s foot and superficial skin infections,” Egerton explains.
Fungal infections are caused by fungi that get under your nails, but stay above the outermost layer of skin. The fungi thrive in warm, damp places like swimming pools, showers, and shared changing areas. Fungus can also live on hard surfaces such as nail or cuticle clippers and if shared, can easily spread the infection from person to person. Simply being older, male, wearing shoes that cause your feet to sweat, taking antibiotics, as well as having bad circulation and damaged nails will also promote fungi growth and infections.
For many people who suffer from fungal nail infections, the winter months are eagerly welcomed as they know that their infected toes will soon be hidden under wooly socks and boots, forgotten until spring. On the contrary, this is the perfect time to get your toes treated. When spring rolls around in a few short months, you could be pulling out your favorite sandals instead of hiding your feet in closed toed shoes.
“Fungal nail infections can now be treated through in-office procedures,” Dr. Egerton explains. “It’s important that if you notice a change in the appearance of your toenail, you should have it checked out as soon as possible to prevent a worsening infection or a spread of the infection to other nails.”
There are several over-the-counter products you can purchase to help treat the fungal infection. However, they require twice daily applications for 6-12 months and have a success rate of only 10-20%. Oral medications taken for between 3 to 12 months are also available, but require blood tests and have the potential for adverse side effects. In office laser treatments are quick, painless and have no side effects. The laser treats the damaged tissue and promotes healing of a new and healthier nail. The laser is FDA approved for the treatment of Onychomycosis and has a similar success rate to that of oral medication which is 80-85%.
If you want to cure your unsightly toenails from fungal infections, contact the Triad Foot Center by calling (336) 375-6990 or request an appoint by clicking here.