A fungus is an organism that lives in warm moist areas. Fungus of the toenails is a common problem that can affect people of all ages, although it most commonly affects individuals who are older.
What Is Nail Fungus?
Toenail fungus often begins as an infection in the skin called tinea pedis (also known as athlete’s foot). The fungus often starts under the nail fold at the end of the nail. Over time it grows underneath the nail and causes changes to its appearance, such as a yellow or brownish discoloration. It can also cause thickening and deformity of the toenail.
Many people have difficulty with their toenails and need assistance in caring for them. We can diagnose the cause of toenail problems and recommend treatments.
What Causes Nail Fungus?
Thick, yellow toenails are due to nail fungus approximately 60% of the time. Other causes include nail root damage, metabolic disease, psoriasis and eczema. Fungi, which are microscopic organisms, typically thrive in warm, moist environments. A function of modern day society is the use of shoe gear. This also happens to be the perfect happy home for fungus. As a result, the incidence of nail fungus is much higher on the toes then on the hands.
Nail Fungus Treatment
It is hard to eradicate toenail fungus so prevention is the best cure. Wear protective shoes or sandals in public showers and avoid borrowing someone else's shoes or sharing socks or towels. Wash your feet regularly, and dry them thoroughly when they get wet. Wearing nail polish on the toes is not advised because it can seal in fungus and allow it to grow.
If you do develop toenail fungus, come and see us at Performance Footcare of New York. We may might remove as much of the nail as possible by filling, dissolving or trimming it. Medicated nail polish might be prescribed for a localized infection, but a serious infection will likely be treated with a prescription oral antifungal medication. Sometimes in severe situations we will need to surgically remove the nail.
After a fungal nail infection has cleared up, you can take steps to prevent the infection from coming back. Keeping the fungus under control will help prevent a fungal infection of the skin from reinfecting the nail. Keep your feet dry as much as you can as dry feet are less likely to get infected again. Don't forget to wash and dry your feet every day and apply a non-prescription anti-fungal cream to the entire foot from the ankle down. It is also a good idea to apply powder to your dry feet after you take a shower or bath.