What Are The Symptoms Of Toenail Fungus
Early indicators of toenail fungus arent always obvious. This type of infection affects your nail bed underneath your nail, so it can take some time for the infection to start showing through your nails.
Initially, you may have only a small dot or minor yellow discoloration. As that fungal infection worsens, though, you may notice:
- Foul smell or odor
- Distorted nail shape
- Brittle or crumbling nails
In severe cases, nail fungus can be accompanied by secondary bacterial or yeast infections. If left untreated, these infections can make walking and standing difficult, which could potentially throw off your gait and lead to chronic pain.
Podiatrist Toenail Fungus Specialist
Toenail fungus is an infection underneath the surface of the nail caused by fungi. When the tiny organisms take hold, the nail often becomes darker in color, debris may collect beneath the nail plate, and white marks may appear on the nail plate. The infection is capable of spreading to other toenails, the skin, or even the fingernails. The resulting fungal nails are thicker and difficult to trim making walking painful when wearing shoes. Toe fungus removal can be performed by a podiatrist.
If your condition is mild and not disturbing you, you may not require treatment. If your nail fungus is painful and has caused thickened nails, self-care steps and meds may help. Yet, regardless of whether treatment is effective, nail fungus regularly returns.
Nail fungus is called onychomycosis .
When fungus infects the zones of the skin of your feet, its called athletes foot .
What Symptoms Develop Due To Toenail Fungus
The first sign of a toenail fungus is a white or yellow spot that appears under the tip of your toenail. This discoloration marks the area where the fungus invaded.
As the infection spreads deeper into the toenail, the nails become thick and take on a yellow, green, or black color. Your toenail may become misshapen. Its also common for the nail to become fragile, making the edges crumble or crack.
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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
How Are Fungal Toenails Treated
As a starting point, we have to mention that you can find over-the-counter products that advertise as being able to help with this condition. The fact of the matter, though, is that they are not effective.
Many of those OTC use natural ingredients that arent proven to work. When you want the fungus to be eradicated, you need the right kind of medication, which is where our office can help.
Dr. Scudday can prescribe oral and topical medications to target the fungus and restore your nails back to a healthy, clear state.
The oral medications target the infection from the inside-out. They travel through the bloodstream and can reach dermatophytes residing underneath nail tissue. Conversely, topical medication is applied to affected toenails and works to eradicate fungus residing on the surface.
If you have a case of fungal toenails, come in and see Dr. Scudday for treatment at the earliest opportunity. The infection will only continue to worsen the longer it is left untreated.
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If You Observe Certain Nail Changes
For prompt, effective treatment of your toe nail condition , you should see a podiatrist as soon as possible, especially if you notice certain changes to your nails. These abnormalities may include toenail deformities, discoloration, or thickening. By seeing a podiatrist as soon as possible, you can reduce the risk that youll suffer permanent damage to your toenails.
If you are in need of a foot doctor in Sugar Land, TX , visit Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists or call 281-242-3338.
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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How Do Dermatologists Treat A Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment usually begins with your dermatologist trimming your infected nail, cutting back each infected nail to the place where it attaches to your finger or toe. Your dermatologist may also scrape away debris under the nail. This helps get rid of some fungus.
To completely get rid of the infection, most people also need one or more of the following treatments:
Medicine you apply to the nail: If you have a mild infection, a medicine that you apply to your nails may get rid of the infection. This treatment helps keep new fungus out while the nails grow. Fingernails typically grow out in four to six months. Toenails take longer, usually takes 12 to 18 months.
Probably the most difficult part of this treatment is remembering to use it as often as prescribed. Some treatments must be applied every day. Others you apply once a week. To get the best results, its essential that you apply these medicines exactly as directed.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the following medicines that you apply to the nail to treat nail fungus:
Side effects from these medicines are generally mild. Possible side effects include redness and swelling, an ingrown toenail, and stinging or burning when you apply the medicine. In clinical trials, none of these side effects caused patients to stop using the treatment.
The FDA has approved the following systemic medicines to treat nail fungus:
Podiatrist Located In Denver Co
Are your toenails discolored, cracked, or brittle? Untreated toenail fungus is a common foot problem that can quickly get out of control. At the Center for Foot and Ankle Care in Denver, Eugene Rosenthall, DPM, FACFAS, treats toenail conditions like fungus, hangnails, and ingrown toenails. With proper care and attention, your toes can look and feel so good that youll want to show them off. To see what Dr. Rosenthall can do for your toenail fungus, call the office to schedule your appointment or book it online.
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How Many Laser Treatments To Remove Toenail Fungus
- The number of laser sessions depends upon:
- The number of infected nails
- The severity of the fungal nail infection
- General health.
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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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How Is Toenail Fungus Treated
Toenail fungus is notoriously tricky to treat. You may need to treat the condition for several months to get rid of the fungus. Still, toenail fungus often comes back.
A dermatologist or podiatrist can explain your treatment options. If you have a mild case that doesnt bother you, your provider may recommend no treatment.
Toenail fungus treatment options include:
- Oral antifungal medication: You take prescribed medication, such terbinafine , itraconazole and fluconazole , to treat the fungi. You will need to take this medication every day for several months . Your provider may use blood tests to check for potential medication side effects. These medications can affect the liver and interact with other medications, so oral antifungals are not for everyone.
- Topical medication: You regularly apply a medication right on the nail. The medication treats the fungi over time. Topical medications are most effective when paired with oral medications.
- Laser treatments: Your provider directs a high-tech laser beam and special lights at the toenail to treat the fungus. Lasers are FDA approved for temporary increase of clear nail in nail fungus but is not a cure. Cure rates for laser treatment are lower than oral and topical mediations so they are not typically used as first line treatments for nail fungus.
Effectiveness Of Toenail Fungus Laser Treatment:
- Laser treatment for toenail fungal infections is a very effective and safe method. Still, the effectiveness varies depending on age, general health, duration, the severity of the infection, and degree of nail damage.
- Researches show up to 88% effectiveness though we expect around 50-78% to be more reflective overall.
- The nail can be removed and treated as the new one grows back in some persistent or severely infected nails.
- The amount for treatment is typically charged per foot. This includes follow-up evaluation and treatment if required, within a period of 1 to 3 months.
- The per-foot cost is on average $600 for a 3-month plan and $800 for both feet. If the nails are to be removed, then an additional $100 depending on the number of nails to be removed
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Possible Risks And Complications
A podiatry laser has no effect on healthy tissue. It targets only the infected areas. Happily, patients who undergo laser nail treatment for fungus removal should experience no discomfort during or after the treatment.
In some cases, patients have reported feeling a warming sensation or a slight pinprick.
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Accurate Diagnosis Should Be First Step In Treating Nail Fungus
NEW YORK Board-certified dermatologist can evaluate condition, recommend treatment
- If you get a manicure or pedicure at a salon, make sure the staff sterilizes its equipment. Dont shave your legs for at least 24 hours before a pedicure, as this may cause nicks and breaks in the skin that could lead to infection.
- Because fungus can thrive in warm, moist environments, wear breathable socks, and use flip-flops at public pools, gyms, locker rooms and showers.
- If you notice symptoms of a fungal infection in any of your nails or your feet , see a board-certified dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment to prevent the disease from spreading onto other nails or to other members of your household.
Nail fungus can be an embarrassing problem, but you shouldnt be embarrassed to discuss it with a board-certified dermatologist, who can help you manage this condition, Dr. Lipner says. Dermatologists have the expertise to determine whats causing your nail problem and recommend an appropriate treatment, so see a dermatologist if you have any concerns about your nails.
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.
- Redness, pain or pus near the toenail.
- Weakened immune system.
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Tips For Preventing Toenail Fungus
The easiest way to treat toenail fungus is to know the steps to toenail fungus prevention. Fungus thrives on moist, dark environments, so it is vital to wash and try feet thoroughly before putting on socks and shoes. Additionally, shoes that fit properly are essential for allowing air to circulate to your feet. If you shower or swim in public locker rooms, pools, or beaches, be sure to wear shower shoes when walking around, and always change into dry socks if your feet become damp because of rain or snow.
Other methods for preventing toenail fungus include clipping your toenails regularly and straight across, spraying your shoes with anti-fungal protection products, and cleaning your nail clippers between each use.
When To See A Podiatrist About Nail Fungus
When to See a Podiatrist About Nail Fungus
Your local podiatrist can accurately diagnose and effectively treat an incredible array of problems that affect your feet, including nail fungus. While many people think of nail fungus as a minor inconvenience or merely a cosmetic issue, it can in fact lead to serious health problems. When left untreated by your Houston podiatrist , nail fungus can lead to permanent nail damage and infections that spread beyond your feet. While its best to visit your foot doctor sooner, rather than later, you should definitely take the time to schedule an appointment if the following factors apply to you.
How Do You Know When To See A Toenail Fungus Doctor
For the reasons listed above, it is highly recommended to visit a doctor as soon as you start to feel any discomfort.
Dont try to stick it out! Its always better to be safe than sorry. Staying healthy is very important, especially for the body parts that carry you around!
Do you have any tips on seeing your doctor for toenail fungus?
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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How Are Fungal Nail Infections Treated
Treatment isnt always necessarydepending on the severity of your conditionbut it is recommended simply because it might be contagious. Not only can you spread the condition to someone else, but depending on the type of fungus, can also spread to infect your other toes.
For mild cases of toenail fungus, your doctor will likely start with conservative treatments. These may include prescription anti-fungal oral medications or topical solutions. For patients who exhibit severe symptomsor for those who do not respond to medicationthe doctor may recommend nail avulsion surgery. During this procedure, the nail plate is removed and chemical treatments are introduced to treat the infection.Contact your podiatrist for more information or to schedule a consultation.
How To Treat Severe Nail Fungal Infection
Some people opt not to do anything about their nail fungal infection because they are not bothered by it at all, or at least they have adapted to live with the condition. However, it is recommended that the infection is treated immediately because it might get worse.
For severe nail fungal infection cases, treatment is necessary. In such cases, the infection may even spread to other parts of the body and will compromise the overall health of the patient.
Doctors are likely to prescribe oral fungicidal medicines to treat severe nail fungal infections depending on the patients condition, medical history, other ailments, and restrictions. While oral treatments are generally considered effective, but they are slow in delivering results and they come with side effects. Therefore, doctors take into consideration their patients individual health records in prescribing oral fungicidal medications.
Its not the most common solution, but surgery is also sometimes recommended for extreme cases of onychomycosis. A part of the nail or the entire nail can be removed in the surgery, which can be done in a clinic or in the doctors office. By removing the nail, the fungi infection is also removed, allowing a new and healthy nail to grow back. It takes time for the new one to grow fully, though, and the fungi may even return during the recuperation period.
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