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.
Ask The Doctors What Can I Do About Toenail Fungus
Dear Doctor: I had toenail fungus two years ago, and my doctor prescribed Lamisil. It took a long time, but it worked. Now the fungus, which is so ugly, is back again. Why is it so hard to get rid of, and are there any new treatments available?
Dear Reader: Toenail fungus is fairly common, but thats not much consolation to the 6 million or so people in the United States who have to put up with it. Its an often-unsightly infection caused by a microscopic organism called a dermatophyte that lives beneath the toenail. More precisely, it colonizes the portion of the nail known as the matrix, which is underneath the cuticle.
Initial symptoms are a yellowish or brownish discoloration of the toenail. As the infection progresses, nails will often become thickened, crumbly and malformed. Although the fungus affects the appearance of the nails, it actually lives on the layer directly beneath the toenail. Thats why its so difficult to treat.
Your nails are made up of keratin, a tough, fibrous protein. The same hard shell that protects your toes is giving shelter to the fungus. For topical medications to be successful in killing the fungus, they have to be able to reach it.
Anti-fungal creams and liquids are available, both in over-the-counter preparations and by prescription. But because nails are not porous, its difficult for the medication to reach the infection in concentrations great enough to kill the fungus. As a result, success rates for topical treatments are low.
See A Podiatrist For Toenail Fungus Treatment
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.
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All About Fungal Toe Nails
Foot Doctors in Midtown NY treat Fungal nails
Many people have thick, discolored toenails. A large percentage of these abnormal nails are due to a fungal infection of the nail bed, plate or matrix. The medical term of this type of infection is Onychomycosis. Fungal nails affect more than 3% of the population mainly in developed countries.
What could promote the Fungal Nail Infections
The following are instances that could promote or encourage a fungal nail infection:
- Tight shoes promotes crowding of toes and keeps the toes warm and moist the environment for fungi to grow.
- Extreme exercise could cause repeated minor trauma to the hyponychium allowing fungus to invade.
- Communal showers where people walk barefoot can expose the feet to fungi.
- Immune system diseases like AIDS and diabetes make it easier for a fungal infection to start.
Fungal toenail infections are diagnosed by taking a sample of the debris under the nail.
PinPointe FootLaser is the latest technology in lasers designed specifically for treating nail fungus. Its laser beam goes through the toenail to safely kill any fungal organisms embedded in the nail bed that cause Onychomycosis, which is more commonly known as toenail fungus.
Who Should I See To Treat Toenail Fungus
Your podiatrist can help you take care of not only your feet and ankles, but also your toenails. One very common condition that podiatrists treat are fungal toenail infections. These infections often start as athletes foot, a skin infection, before spreading to the toenails, although they can also occur on just the nails. Symptoms of toenail fungus include changes in the texture, color, and shape of the nail. The nail may become crumbly, brittle, or thickened and develop yellow, white, or brown spots. In more severe cases, the nail can change shape, separate from the nail bed, emit a foul odor, and make wearing shoes uncomfortable. If you have toenail fungus, and particularly if you have toenail fungus and diabetes, it is suggested that you see a podiatrist for treatment.
If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, contact the foot specialists of Certified Foot Care. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
- Warped or oddly shaped nails
- Yellowish nails
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If You See A Doctor What Will Your Treatment Be
When you see your toenail fungus doctor, there may be a few treatments they recommend or prescribe some of which are more pleasant than others. It all depends on the kind of fungus you have, as well as how severe your case is.
The doctor may have to take samples, which would be sent off to a lab to determine exactly what kind of fungus you have. So, be prepared for multiple doctor visits.
Your doctor may prescribe oral antifungal drugs or topical antifungal therapies. Sometimes, combining the two types of treatment has more success than one alone.
Oral antifungal drugs are generally taken for six to twelve weeks, but most of the time, you wont see any positive results until the nail has completely grown out.
There are also medicated nail polishes and medicated nail creams that can be prescribed, but the nail polish can take up to a year to deliver results.
In the most severe of cases, surgery to temporarily remove the nail might be recommended. This is so the doctor can treat the fungal infection under the nail directly.
If the infection is severe enough, the doctor might recommend the permanent removal of the nail.
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Fungal Nail Infection Symptoms
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
- Cause you pain
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Fungal Nail Infection Causes
A fungal nail infection is caused by an overgrowth of fungi. These fungi fall into three categories:
These cause most cases of toenail fungus infections and also cause athletes foot, which can spread from person to person.
Moulds are usually found in soil and these typically do not spread from one person to another. It is uncommon for you to catch a nail infection this way.
Yeasts are normally found on the body and can cause a nail infection if they grow out of control.
Fungal nail infections are usually triggered when the conditions are right for the fungi to grow. This includes when:
- Your feet or hands are warm, moist and in dark conditions for a period of time, for example if you wear socks, shoes or gloves
- Your feet and hands arent kept clean and dry
- Nails are broken or damaged
- You have a weakened immune system or are suffering from certain other illnesses, like diabetes
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What Tests Might I Have For Toenail Fungus
Your provider will probably take a small sample from underneath your nail to further analyze it. Viewing the cells under a microscope can confirm a toenail fungus diagnosis. If the initial test is negative, a scraping can be sent to see if the fungus grows out in a culture. It also helps your provider identify the type of fungus.
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When Should I See A Bethesda Or Springfield Podiatrist
If you have a condition that compromises your immune system, home treatments and remedies may not be a viable option to begin with, so its important to see a podiatrist right away to avoid complications and minimize risks. For healthy individuals, home treatments may help to get rid of the fungus, but they are never a guarantee.
If you find that you have stubborn toenail fungus that wont go away with home treatments or you need to see a podiatrist because you have diabetes or another condition, Dr. Paul Ross can help! Please dont hesitate to give us a call at .
The Podiatry Centers located in Bethesda, Maryland and Springfield, Virginia treat all medical and surgical foot and ankle conditions. Licensed Podiatrist, Dr. Paul Ross can help bring you foot and ankle pain relief.
Our Bethesda, Maryland and Springfield, Virginia Podiatry offices offer the most effective and state-of-the-art, quality podiatry care services with a smile to patients in our local community, including: Woodbridge VA, Fairfax VA, Annandale VA, Arlington VA, Alexandria VA, Burke VA, Gaithersburg MD, Potomac MD, Silver Spring MD, Rockville MD and Chevy Chase MD.
Return to a pain-free life and get back to the things you love!
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Symptoms Of Toenail Fungus
There are various symptoms to watch out for when you are trying to self-diagnose toenail fungus. These symptoms can include:
- The toenail becoming brittle and ragged with edges that seem to be crumbling.
- A thickening of the toenail that is more than normal.
- The toenail growing into a distorted shape and thickening as it grows.
- When the nail turns a darker shade because of trapped dirt.
- There is a foul smell coming from the nail itself.
- The toenail is turning a different colorlike a yellow-brown or a white-yellow.
If you are experiencing any or more of these symptoms, it might be time to try some home remedies or treatments. You can either deal with them at home, by using over-the-counter medications like nail creams or ointments. Or you can alter the nail yourself and then add the medication. Altering the nail may include thinning it down with a file or trimming it down with a clipper or nail scissors. Being able to get to the infected parts of the nail is important when applying medicine.
Dont get to this point if you can. There are a few preventative care measures you can take right now of your nail:
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Does Insurance Cover Laser Toenail Fungus Removal
Even though toenail laser fungus treatment is FDA approved and shown effective, it is unfortunately not covered by insurance.
- This means Medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and other insurances do not cover laser toenail fungus.
- In our opinion, the cost is comparable to what the average co-pay would be, and research has shown that lasers are very cost-effective even though they are not covered.
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What Is A Fungal Infection
There are two broad categories of fungal infections:
Dermatologists treat fungal infections of the skin, as well as fungal infections in hair and nails. Often, these infections appear as itchy, scaley, rashes on the skin.
Superficial infections are known by common names such as athletes foot and ringworm, or by medical names that indicate the fungus and location. These infections include:
- Tinea unguum
- tinea cruris
- Tinea capitis
Nail fungus, knowns as onychomycosis or tinea unguum, is the most common fungal infection with over three million cases a year.
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Discoloration Of The Nail Plates
Discoloration of the nail plates is usually the least worrisome of toenail problems.
Your nails are susceptible to discoloration from substances you come into contact with. Nail polish, dye from your shoes, and other products containing dye can stain your nails.
Drugs, including some cancer drugs, antibiotics, and those used to treat autoimmune disorders, can also cause discoloration of your nail plates.
Discoloration is usually not painful and will improve when your nail grows out or when you stop taking the medication or using the product that caused the discoloration.
There is a rare medical condition that can cause your nail plates to turn white.
Other than the discoloration, there arent usually any other symptoms associated with discolored nail beds.
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Surgical Toe Fungus Removal Treatment
This is the last resort to treat the toenail fungus condition. The whole nail can be removed or part of it can be removed to allow a healthy growth of the nail. Sometimes the nail might be removed with some skin underneathit depends on the level of infection. This will ensure that the nail that grows back will not be susceptible to infections.
Over the counter remedies bought from your local drug store are not expensive. However, they are not as strong and might not completely clear the fungal infection. If they clear the infection for some time and it comes back, seek an alternative cureby visiting a podiatrist for further treatment.
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How Can You Tell If Toenail Fungus Is Getting Better
Nail fungus can be resistant to treatment and nails take a long time to grow out, so it can take several weeks or months for an infection to be fully resolved. You will know that the treatment is working and the infection is clearing up when you see growth of a new, healthy nail from the base of the nail bed.
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Q: What Is A Podiatrist
A: Podiatrists are Doctors of Podiatric Medicine, DPM. Podiatrists are also known as podiatric physicians, foot doctors, or podiatric surgeons. Podiatrists often diagnose and treat the foot, ankle, and other related structures of the leg.
Podiatrists receive similar training that other doctors complete. They complete four years of training in a podiatric medical school and three years of hospital residency training.
The podiatrists at Prime Foot & Ankle Specialists have received extra training such as fellowships beyond residency and board certifications by the board of foot and ankle surgery and the board of podiatric medicine.
How To Prepare To See Your Doctor
- List any symptoms, even ones that you feel are not likely related to your nail condition. This can affect your doctors treatment choices.
- List any medications that you are currently taking. Some nail fungus treatments may have interactions with other drugs. List any allergies or other personal information that may be relevant.
- Inform the doctor of any other health problems that you have. Conditions like cancer, diabetes and psoriasis can make you more vulnerable to infection or could make certain treatment options not good for you.
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How To Diagnose Toenail Fungus
- Since fungal toenail infection can mimic other conditions like psoriasis, it must be diagnosed by a podiatrist or a dermatologist before treatment.
- It may be diagnosed based on nail appearance, or the affected part of the skin is scraped off.
- This sample is then sent to the pathology lab for microscopy and to identify the causative organism.
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When Should I Call The Doctor
In rare cases, toenail fungus can cause an infection called cellulitis. Without prompt treatment, cellulitis may pose a serious danger to your health.
You should seek treatment guidance from a trusted healthcare provider if you have:
- Circulation problems.
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