Have you started to notice something different about your toenails? Are you embarrassed about how they look? Have you been avoiding your favorite open-toe shoes?
Well, you are not alone!
Toenail fungus is more common than you might think – this unsightly condition affects more than 1 in every 6 Americans today. However, this may be an underestimated statistic as many toenail fungus diagnoses go unreported – possibly due to embarrassment, or because one just assumes the problem will go away on its own.
Either way, neither reason will get rid of the problem. In fact, when left untreated, fungal nails can persist, get worse, and even spread to your other nails. This is especially true in regard to our toes, which are regularly stuffed into socks and shoes creating a welcoming and thriving environment for fungi – warm, moist, and dark.
So, if your toenails are starting to look a little different you should take action right away. And the good news is that we are here to help you do just that!
Keep reading to find out how to recognize if you are indeed developing a fungal nail and what exactly you should do about it. It is about time you get rid of those stuffy shoes and back into your favorite sandals instead!
What Causes Fungal Nails?
The reality is that toenail fungus doesn’t discriminate – this condition can affect people across all demographics. Although, some risk factors should be taken into consideration like your age, gender, and lifestyle choices. It is also worth noting that if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, then you are already at a higher risk of developing a fungal nail.
Essentially, fungal toenails are a result of microscopic organisms feeding on the keratin present in your nails – the fungus will get underneath the hard keratin tissue of your nail and thrive from the environment provided by your socks and shoes.
As the fungal infection gets worse, you face an increased risk of having pain, secondary infections, and even ingrown toenails as a result. In cases where the infection is especially severe, it may even cause permanent damage to the keratin or total loss of the toenail.
In most cases, however, you can take care of the situation by using home remedies if the condition is not causing any discomfort or doesn’t seem to be getting worse. But once the nail starts to thicken and crumble, then this is a good sign that you should seek medical attention immediately.
The best thing to do is to prevent, prevent, prevent – always check your nails for any signs of infection, especially if you have diabetes (in which case you should perform daily checks of your feet for other detrimental signs as well).
What Symptoms Should You Look For?
This condition typically starts as a fairly small, white or yellowish spot underneath the tip of the nail and if left untreated, the nail can begin to change color, thicken or crumble.
Here are some things to keep in mind when checking your toenails for fungi:
- Changes in the texture or shape of the nail. Look for any changes in the overall shape of the nail. Is there any crumbling or brittleness? Has the nail become thicker?
- Changes in the color of the nail. Are there any white spots, or brown or yellow streaks?
- Look for any signs of foul odors. Does the area emit a strange smell?
- Observe the area and note for any signs of discomfort. Do you feel pain whenever you touch the infected area?
Though we truly hope that after inspecting your feet you have found no signs of toenail fungus, we highly recommend that you still take preventative measures to avoid this problem in the future. As common as this condition is, one day you may look down at your bare feet and see unsightly, ragged, discolored, and brittle nails.
But not if you do something about it!
How Can You Prevent Fungal Nails?
There are many easy methods to help you prevent this condition from becoming a part of your life. Here are some:
- Wear flip-flops or open-toe shoes when you are walking in areas which are moist or damp like locker rooms and public showers.
- Trim your nails the right way – keep them short (but not too short) and make sure to cut the nail straight across rather than in an arch.
- Always trim your nails with clean tools and never share these with other people.
- Wear sweat-absorbing socks or change your socks throughout the day if they become damp or wet.
- Treat your shoes routinely with disinfectants or antifungal powders.
- Throw away infected shoes, especially if you just completed a toenail fungus treatment.
- Wash your hands and feet regularly and moisturize your nails after every wash.
- Choose a nail salon that always uses sterilized manicure tools for each customer.
Of course, in some cases, even after following these preventative measures toenail fungus may still develop and become infected – after all, this is a very common and contagious condition. So, if your fungal nails persist or begin causing you pain, then it’s probably time to see a podiatrist.
How Can We Help You?
Whenever you come into our office, you can be sure that you will be provided with the best podiatric care available. We will begin your consultation by performing a thorough evaluation of your feet and then determine what treatment option is best for your specific diagnosis.
Here are some of the treatment options available at our Carmel Foot Specialist, P.A. office:
- Topical medication
- Oral medication
- Laser nail treatment
Remember, you don’t have to live with embarrassment or be self-conscious because of unsightly toenails. Instead, contact us at Carmel Foot Specialist, P.A. today! We will work with you to restore your nails back to health.
Come Visit Us Today!
So, if fungal nails are keeping you from flaunting your favorite nail polish, or if you are just ready to make this condition a problem of the past, we can absolutely help you! Here at Carmel Foot Specialist, P.A. we aim to make you feel and look better, and we are equipped with the best tools available to make it happen.
To schedule an appointment, just call the office most convenient to your location:
- Myers Park: (704) 334-8682
- South Charlotte: (704) 542-8253
Or, simply fill out our request form online. Our experienced staff will be happy to assist you!