What is Toenail Fungus?
Have you been guilty of trying to hide your toes with socks or burying them in the sand at the beach? You are not alone! Toenail fungus is a condition that many people develop and suffer from. This condition often results in the discoloration and thickening of the toenail, which can cause embarrassment for many people. It begins as a small white or yellow growth beneath the tip of the nail and at its worse can develop into the nail’s deterioration. It can be persistent and hard to get rid of. As many different types of fungi are present throughout the environment, it is very easy to contract toenail fungus.
Fungus of the toenail is more likely to develop for people who wear socks and shoes that do not allow decent ventilation of the feet. Public showers, gyms, and swimming pools are breeding grounds, as their damp and humid environments allow for the growth of bacteria. The feet are especially susceptible to toenail fungus because shoes and socks create the ideal dark and moist environment that fungal infections thrive in. While fungal infections of the nail plate are quite common, if left untreated they can spread beyond the toenail and into the skin and other parts of the body.
Signs of toenail fungus include a thickened nail that has become yellow or brown in color, a foul smell, and debris beneath the nail. The toe may become painful due to the pressure of a thicker nail or the buildup of debris.
Treatment for toenail fungus is most effective during the early stages of an infection. If there is an accumulation of debris beneath the nail plate, an ingrown nail or a more serious infection can occur. While each treatment varies between patients, your TCFA podiatrist may prescribe you oral medications, topical liquids and creams, or laser therapy. To determine the best treatment process for you, be sure to visit your podiatrist at the first signs of toenail fungus.
One of the best ways you can prevent toenail fungus is by wearing socks. Some of the best sock fabrics in terms of protecting your feet are nylon, wool, and polypropylene. Another tip is to avoid walking around in wet areas as much as possible, since fungi tend to thrive in moist environments.
There are always surgical procedures that are available for toenail fungus. Some people would like immediate quick removal of toenail fungus. Surgeons will be able to cut through and remove the growth using laser surgery. It is important not to try and remove it yourself. Once removed, your old shoes will need to be replaced to avoid reinfection.
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