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How Do You Know If You Have Nail Fungus

See A Podiatrist For Toenail Fungus Treatment

How do you know if you have a fungal nail infection?

If youre uncomfortable with the appearance of your toes, make an appointment with a podiatrist. Professional, modern treatment methods are more effective at clearing up fungal infections than over the counter and home remedies.

Tackling a fungal infection on your own could be difficult and frustrating. Over-the-counter creams are often not strong enough to treat infections appropriately, and more complex treatments arent available for consumer use. The toenail fungus doctors, or podiatrists, at Arizona Foot Doctors are qualified to deal with many foot and ankle issues, including toenail fungus, and are dedicated to making you feel confident and comfortable throughout the treatment process.

After a gentle evaluation, our podiatrists will prescribe the most appropriate treatment for your situation, identify any underlying causes, and help you avoid future infections.

How Does A Nail Fungus Start

Nail fungus infection is a common dermatological disorder that begins either under the nail or in the nail itself. It is mostly caused by a dermatophyte fungus, though there are cases that it is caused by Candida yeast as well. Also called onychomycosis, the condition affects both fingernails and toenails, though it is more prevalent in toenails. Fungi thrive in warm and moist environments, which perhaps describe a lot of footwear. Nail fungus infection can also start with the same dermatophyte fungus that causes athletes foot, the Trichophyton. So when a person has athletes foot, its also likely that the fungal infection would spread to the nails.

Fungal infection gives nails an abnormal appearance. The first sign of it may be a discolored dot on the nail or the skin under the nail. There may be white or yellow streaks on the nail, a crumbling corner or tip of the nail, flaking on the nails surface, yellow spots at the bottom of the nail, and scaling under the nail. The infected nail may also be thickened or brittle, and it may detach from the nail bed. In some cases, there may also be odor coming from the infected nail.

Softening And Scraping Away The Nail

As it can take a long time for antifungal medication to work, some people may prefer to use a treatment that involves softening and removing infected parts of nail over a few weeks.

Treatment kits are available from pharmacies that contain a 40% urea paste, plasters and a scraping device. The paste softens the infected parts of the nail, allowing them to be scraped away so they can be gradually replaced with healthy nail.

To use the treatment:

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Who Gets Toenail Fungus

Men are more likely to get it than women. The older you are, the better your chances are, too. People who have diabetes, athlete’s foot, or a weak immune system, who smoke, or whose family members have it are also at a higher risk. If you spend a lot of time in the water or you’ve injured your toenail, your odds for getting toenail fungus go up.

How Can I Tell If I Have Toenail Fungus

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Toenail fungus usually starts subtly, so you might not notice anything different with your nail immediately. After a while, though, you see some noticeable differences that indicate a fungal condition. Nails become:

  • Thicker
  • Discolored
  • Tender

Because a nail infected with a fungus is compromised, it can also break or split easily. As the condition progresses, itchiness and pain can occur, and the nail becomes separated from the nail bed.

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Will A Podiatrist Treat Toenail Fungus

Fungal infections in the toenail are relatively common, causing foul smells and unsightly appearances around the nail plate. If you recognize the symptoms of toenail fungus, you must meet with the right doctor, a podiatrist, for proper treatment.

Podiatrists will treat toenail fungus by using topical creams, removing part of the nail, and or using more modern methods like laser therapy to eliminate the infection. At Arizona Foot Doctors, our podiatrists conduct a thorough evaluation of your nail before starting treatment to better understand the infections origin, possible underlying conditions, and to create a treatment approach that best fits your needs and lifestyle.

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How Can I Prevent Toenail Fungus

Theres no way to guarantee that you wont get toenail fungus. But you can take several steps to help prevent it:

  • Avoid going barefoot in communal areas such as hotel rooms / showers, public showers, locker rooms and swimming pools. Most people pick up fungus in these situations. It helps to wear flip flops in these public areas.
  • If you have a family member with foot fungus or nail fungus, try to use different shower or wear flip flops in the shower to avoid coming in contact with it.
  • Trauma due to accidental or aggressive clipping of the nails can turn into portals of entry for the fungus.
  • Clean your nail trimmer before using it.
  • Do not tear or rip your toenails on purpose.
  • If you have diabetes, follow all foot care recommendations from your healthcare provider.
  • Keep your feet dry. Make sure to fully dry your feet after a shower.
  • Soak toenails in warm water before cutting them. Or you can cut your nails after a shower or bath.
  • Trim toenails straight across .
  • Wear shoes that fit correctly. They should not be too loose or tight around the toes.

Warning Signs Of Toenail Fungus

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Toenail fungus is an unsightly and embarrassing infection that is contagious and often difficult to get rid of. And while some of you may have a mild case and barely even notice the fungal growth at all, others actually suffer from intense pain as their infection grows and spreads.

When patients visit our office looking to relieve pain caused by toenail fungus, they are usually finally doing something about the infection after months or even years! of ignoring the condition and allowing it to thrive.

Waiting to seek treatment they soon find is a huge mistake!

Request an Appointment

Whenever you have an infection, you shouldnt wait to seek medical care the sooner you get the care you need, the quicker and more effective treatments will be.

Its like the old saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. And this is true when it comes to toenail fungus looking for symptoms of this pesky condition before they become a problem will help you make the most of treatment opportunities and minimize complications.

The bottom line is that the more you allow fungus to grow and spread under your nail, the more difficult it will be to actually get rid of it. So staying aware of symptoms and catching them early can really make a huge difference for your recovery.

And of course, if you want to catch it early, you need to know what to exactly look for thats why we are here!

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Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nails

Many changes in fingernails or toenails may cause people to think they have a fungal infection of the nails, medically known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium.

Fungal infection of the nails sometimes makes the condition sound contagious or related to poor hygiene. In fact, up to 10% of all adults in Western countries have fungal infection of the nails. This percentage increases to 20% of adults who are age 60 or older. Toenail fungus is much more common than fingernail fungus.

In reality, abnormal-looking nails may be caused by a number of conditions including, but not limited to, fungal infection. There are many other reasons why your nails may look different.

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Tips To Prevent Fungal Nail Infections

Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent a fungal infection of the nails. Taking good care of your nails by keeping them well trimmed and clean is a good way to prevent infections.

Also avoid injuring the skin around your nails. If youre going to have damp or wet hands for an extended amount of time, you may want to wear rubber gloves.

Other ways to prevent fungal infections of the nails include:

  • washing your hands after touching infected nails
  • drying your feet well after showering, especially between your toes
  • getting manicures or pedicures from trustworthy salons
  • avoiding being barefoot in public places
  • reducing your use of artificial nails and nail polish

Products to help you avoid nail fungus

If youre prone to excessive moisture around your fingernails or toenails, consider buying:

What Are The Causes Of Toenail Fungus Infections

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Toenail fungal infections are caused by different microscopic organisms such as fungi. The most common of these organisms are dermatophytes. However, this type of infection may also be caused by yeasts and molds. The fungus may enter the body through cuts and cracks on the skin underneath the nail. Fungi thrive in a warm and moist environment which makes the confines of your closed-toe shoes the perfect environment to spread.

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Can A Nail Fungal Infection Be Prevented Or Avoided

Avoid situations that expose you to a fungus. This includes walking barefoot in locker rooms and having wet hands and feet often. This might be a problem for people who work in restaurants or house cleaning. People in a family can get nail fungal infections at the same time. This happens when their immune systems arent able to fight off the infection. Or it could be the infection is spread when using the same towels. It is important to routinely clean your shower, tub, and bathroom to lower risk of fungal infection.

What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Toenail Fungus

The most effective toenail fungus treatment for you will largely depend on your symptoms and situation. Your provider will consider several factors before recommending a treatment plan thats customized to you.

Overall, oral antifungal medications may offer the most treatment potential. Pairing oral drugs with topical antifungal medication may make treatment more effective.

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How To Know If You Have Nail Fungus

This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support , Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support , Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee in 2006.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 177,535 times.

Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium, is a common condition that can affect either the finger or toenails, though it is more likely to infect toenails.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source It often begins as a white or yellow spot under your nail and can cause serious damage to the nail or other infections if left untreated.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source By identifying the signs and symptoms and treating the condition, you can not only know if you have nail fungus, but also get rid of this potentially unsightly condition.

Treatments For Fungal Nail Infections

How do I know if I have toenail fungus and what to do

Treatment isn’t always needed for a mild fungal nail infection because it’s unlikely to cause any further problems and you may feel it’s not worth treating.

Whether you decide to have treatment or not, you should still practise good foot hygiene to stop the infection getting worse or spreading to others.

Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you’re bothered by the appearance of the affected nail, or it’s causing problems such as pain and discomfort. They’ll probably recommend:

  • antifungal tablets tablets taken once or twice a day for several months
  • antifungal nail paints special paints applied directly to the nail over several months
  • nail softening kits where a paste is used to soften infected parts of the nail, before they’re removed with a scraping device

A procedure to remove the nail completely may be recommended in severe cases. Laser treatment, where a high-energy laser is used to destroy the fungus, is also an option. But this is only available privately and can be expensive.

You can reduce your risk of developing a fungal nail infection by:

Nail salon equipment can sometimes be the source of fungal nail infections. If you regularly visit a salon, make sure any equipment used is properly sterilised between uses.

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What Is The Treatment For Fungal Nails

Oral antifungal therapy has a high cure rate, depending on the medication. It can take nine to 12 months to see if it has worked or not, because that is how long it takes for the nail to grow out. Even when therapy works, the fungus may come back. Currently, an oral antifungal therapy is considered the best treatment for toenail fungus because of higher cure rates and shorter treatment duration compared to topical therapy.

Prescription oral medications that are effective against nail fungus include the following:

There are several innovative treatments that are still being tested:

  • Laser therapy or uses application of light-activated agents onto the nail followed by shining light of a proper wavelength on the nail.
  • Use of electrical current to help absorption of topical antifungal medications into the nail: This is also called iontophoresis.
  • Use of a special nail lacquer that changes the micro-climate of the nail to make it inhospitable for the fungus to grow: If this works, it may be an inexpensive way to treat this problem in the future.

One way to definitively get rid of toenail fungus is by surgery. Surgical treatment of onychomycosis involves nail removal. However, this often only provides temporary relief, and recurrence is common unless additional antifungal medication is simultaneously used. However, surgical removal may be warranted when the affected nail is associated with other factors such as trauma and or infection.

Orthopedic Doctors For Foot Care

Many people dont realize just how vital proper foot care really is until they have an infection thats difficult to treat. The medical professionals at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence realize how important caring for each and every part of the body is to maintaining the body in top condition.

We are an Official Orthopaedic Medicine Provider of the Olympics as an Olympic Training Center. We achieved this designation because our team is specially trained in treating sports injuries, including issues involving the feet, muscles, and joints.

Our team offers top-notch medical care and state-of-the-art techniques and technologies diagnosing and treating professional athletes and amateurs alike right here in Colorado Springs.

Call us today at to schedule an appointment, or fill out our simple online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you get back on your feet again!

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How To Diagnose Toenail Fungus

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Several changes in toenails or fingernails may cause people to come to the conclusion that they have developed a fungal nail infection, medically known as tinea unguium or onychomycosis.

This infection commonly starts at the edge of the nail and spreads to the middle, making it brownish or yellowish, brittle and thick.

In severe cases, the nail may also lift off from the nail bed.

People who frequently go to swimming pools, saunas, and communal showers are more susceptible to toenail fungus.

Most people who are infected do not detect it right away until the condition becomes severe. Fungal nail infection is not considered to be a serious health problem unless another medical issue is present.

But, how do you know if you have toenail fungus?

Fungal Nail Infection Symptoms

A Natural Remedy Treatment For Toenail

Because the toes and feet are often exposed to damp, warm areas, where the infection is spread, fungal nail infections affect the toes more than the fingers. Your feet are also more likely to be exposed to fungal infections if you:

  • Spend time at swimming pools
  • Walk around a lot in locker rooms
  • Wear the same pair of damp, sweaty sneakers all the time
  • Injure your toenail

At first, you may have no outward symptoms. But over time, your nails may:

  • Have white spots appear on the surface
  • Turn white, yellow, green or brown
  • Grow thicker than normal or, in some cases, thinner than normal
  • Become brittle, with broken or jagged edges
  • Change shape, curling up or down
  • Lift off of the nail bed
  • Smell bad

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