Have you been trying to cover up unsightly nails with polish or avoiding open-toed sandals? You might have a common infection called onychomycosis or toenail fungus. This easily spread infection can be tough to get rid of on your own. You’ll find the medical help you need at Renewed Medical Health and Beauty. Our dermatology providers are committed to enhancing our patients’ quality of life through restored self-confidence and better health.
Signs of Toenail Fungus
Nail fungus typically begins with the appearance of a little discoloration at the tip of the nail. Then, it can spread to the rest of the nail, causing white, yellow, or brown discoloration. In addition, fungal infections can cause the following changes:
- Thickened, brittle, crumbly, and ragged nails
- Changes in nail shape
- Debris building up underneath the nail
- Foul odor
The infection can spread to other nails on the foot. It may also spread to the nearby skin. When this happens, the infection is known as athlete’s foot. Sometimes, a secondary bacterial infection may affect the toenails.
When you visit Renewed Medical Health and Beauty, our dermatologist can often diagnose toenail fungus with a visual examination. In some cases, it may be appropriate to take a culture of the tissue to confirm the diagnosis. A lab test can also determine whether a secondary infection is present.
Causes and Risk Factors of Nail Fungal Infections
Fungal nails can be embarrassing. However, it’s important to know that it doesn’t necessarily mean you have bad hygiene. Anyone can develop toenail fungus. The underlying cause is exposure to a fungal organism that infects the nail. The fungi can infect the nail by entering a crack in the nail or a cut in the nearby skin. In addition, you may acquire the infection if you share nail clippers with someone else. You may be more likely to develop this health problem if any of the following risk factors apply:
- Walking barefoot in damp areas (i.e. swimming pools and locker rooms)
- Injuring the nail bed
- Wearing very tight shoes with a narrow toe box
- Having a chronic disease that affects the immune system (such as diabetes)
- Perspiring excessively
- Having a history of athlete’s foot
- Living with someone with fungal nails
In addition, living in a hot, humid environment can increase the risk of fungal infections.
Common Treatment Options for Toenail Fungus
Fungal nails are notoriously difficult to treat with home remedies alone. In fact, you may need medical-grade treatments from a dermatologist at Renewed Medical Health and Beauty. After confirming the diagnosis, the provider will likely trim back the nail and remove excess debris from under the nail. Then, you may be prescribed a topical medication that is applied directly to the nail. It’s important to follow the dosage instructions carefully to eliminate the infection.
Some fungal infections may not fully clear up with topical medications. In this case, your provider may prescribe an oral antifungal medication. Some patients may need to take both the oral and topical medicines to clear up the infection.
Why Visit Renewed Medical Health and Beauty
Don’t suffer from toenail fungus any longer. Let the dermatology providers at Renewed Medical Health and Beauty restore your nail health and improve the appearance of your feet. Get in touch with our office in Tucson at (520) 365-3191 to request an appointment.
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