NAIL FUNGUS (ONYCHOMYCOSIS)
The visual sign of a discolored, thick and flaky nail is one of the most common conditions seen in the foot and often described to be “embarrassing.” Nail fungus is very prominent, but a slow & progressive condition. It usually starts at one toe but can spread to others if left untreated.
Fungus commonly affects toes in warm, dark and humid environments. It is usually contracted when bare feet contact the organism is areas such as swimming pools, showers, locker rooms, hot tubs and lakes. The nail responds to grow in an abnormal fashion with discoloration, thickening and flaky debris being evident.
The organism that causes nail fungus can persist for long periods of time, even with treatment. It commonly spreads to other toenails and can even spread to the skin to cause Athlete’s Feet if left untreated.
- Yellow or dark discoloration of the nail
- Thickening of the nail
- Debris under the nail
- Brittle and weak nails with nail flaking off
- Pain to nail with possible redness, swelling and drainage to nail borders
Onychomycosis is usually diagnosed through clinical exam with nail biopsies taken and sent to a pathology lab to confirm the causative organism. The best means of treatment for the disease is through proper antifungal medication and foot hygiene.
Topical or oral antifungals are prescribed to fight the infection. Topical medications are easy to use with no side effects noted, however may take 6 months to a year to eradicate the infection. Oral medications tend to work faster and more efficiently, but your doctor will be able to assess if you’re a candidate for the medication.
At Premier Foot & Ankle, we’re proud to offer an advanced and new treatment option called HyperBlue Laser Therapy. The treatment only requires 10 minute appointments and done weekly for 3-4 visits. The procedure has shown to be very effective and the quickest route to clean, healthy nails.
There are preventative measures that can be taken to help reduce the chances to get an infection.
- Avoid walking barefoot with use of shower shoes or slippers
- Wearing light shoes and socks that keep your feet dry
- Change socks daily and multiple times if you sweat heavily
- Use of talcum powder to keep foot dry
If you are exhibiting early indication of pain or discomfort, visit your podiatrist at Premier Foot & Ankle for care!