Nail fungus (onychomycosis) is a condition in which one or more of the nails of the toes become infected with fungal organisms. This causes a discoloration of the nail as the fungus moves deeper into the tissue. Nail fungus can be painful and may eventually lead to the separating of the nail and nail bed, a condition known as onycholysis.
Fungal infections are fairly common because microscopic fungal, yeast and mold organisms are present everywhere in the environment. Toenails are particularly susceptible to infection because they are often kept in shoes or painted with nail polish which creates a warm, moist and dark environment in which these microscopic organisms thrive.
Your podiatrist may look for the symptoms listed below to diagnose or rule out the condition, or a sample may be obtained from the nail in question for further investigation under a microscope.
If you have any of these symptoms, give us a call to schedule a consultation. While toenail fungus infections can be stubborn, they are treatable. Left untreated, however, the infection will only get worse over time.
Common symptoms of a nail fungal infection include:
Thickened, dull (shine-free) or distorted nails
Yellow streaked nails
Build-up of white chalky debris under the nail
Separation between the nail and skin
Brittle, ragged nails
White spots on the surface of the nail
Your podiatrist may suggest one or more of the following courses of action to treat your toenail fungal infection:
Laser Fungal Treatment: A laser is used on the nail to heat up and subsequently destroy the organism. More than one procedure may be needed for a successful outcome.
Oral Antifungal Medications: A six to 12 week treatment may be prescribed to clear up your infection, which may take a full nine months or longer to completely resolve. Your podiatrist may ask you to have a liver function test before prescribing oral antifungals.
Topical Antifungals: Available in the form of lacquers (nail polish) or pen applicator your podiatrist may use topical antifungals in addition to oral medications or laser to assist in clearing up the infection.