Toenails can get infected by fungus through sores in the skin near or under the toes. Toenails can also get infected as a result of an injury or other ailments.
Toenails affected by fungus are usually brittle and can easily break. If severely infected toenail can also be separated from the nail bed completely. Not treating the fungus in time can result in the fungus spreading to the skin beyond the nail area. If you suffer from Fungal Toenails please contact CuraFoot Clinic for an appointment.
Fungus can spread faster if the area is moist for long periods of time or the person has compromised immune system or mostly wears closed shoes or is elderly (above 65 years of age).
The symptoms of fungal toenails include:
- White or yellow spots in the nail
- Pain while walking or while pressure is applied to the nail
- Brittle or thickened nails
- Nails separated from the toes
Not treating the fungal toenail can make the condition worse. The fungus does not go away with time if left untreated. In addition, keeping it untreated for a long time can lead to complete removal of the nail, permanent discolouration or the spread of the infection to the skin and other parts of the body, including fingernails.
Severe conditions of fungal toenail can require a nail surgery where the nail is removed. However, this method is used as a last resort and is not required at all if the condition is treated on time.
The following can be done to treat fungal toenail conditions:
- Over the counter anti-fungal creams, ointments & nail lacquer – these can control the fungal growth but are usually not effective in removal of the fungus altogether.
- Oral medication – these are usually prescribed by a foot specialist and work better in absolute removal of the infection. In this case, it is best to take the dose as prescribed by the doctor and complete the dosage cycle. Not completing the dosage cycle often causes recurrence of the infection.
- Laser treatment has been introduced as a treatment for fungal toenails. However, the results are still unclear and therefore it is not recommended currently as a conservative treatment option.
It is important to take certain precautions to ensure that the occurrence of fungal toenails are mitigated, since once it occurs, it takes time for the fungus to clear, and even then there is always a chance of recurrence. Follow a few simple steps as below to reduce the risk of contracting fungal toenail infection:
- Make sure to clean your feet thoroughly every night before going to bed. Also dry your feet completely after washing it, since moisture encourages the growth of fungus.
- Have separate foot towels, shoes, socks, nail files and clippers. The infection is contagious and can spread through others who have the infection. It is also a good practice to wash your socks and towels in a disinfectant to further protect yourself from the disease. It is also a good idea to wear fresh socks daily – wearing same socks, especially if they are damp, will result in contracting infection.
- Wear shoes that allow your feet to breathe. In tight, closed shoes, the moisture gets trapped and results in the acceleration of fungal growth.
- Open shoes such as sandals, as well as comfortable shoes that are not tight near the toes mitigate the occurrence of fungal infection.
- Do not be barefoot in public areas such as shared bathrooms, changing rooms or locker rooms to avoid toenail infections or plantar warts.
If, in spite of the measures taken, you still show signs of toenail infection, it is advised to see a CuraFoot specialist at the earliest to treat the condition and ensure recurrence does not occur.