An Overview of Toenail Fungus

Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus is an infection that affects your toenail, making it change color or get thicker. It develops when fungus gets between the toenail and toenail bed, usually through a crack or cut in your toe. If a dermatophyte, a mold that requires protein keratin to grow, causes toenail fungus, the condition is known as tinea unguium. In most patients, toenail fungus Bakersfield is usually not painful. Untreated toenail fungus can spread to other toenails, skin, or fingernails. Toenail fungus is often not painful, but it may make you self-conscious about how your nails look.

What are the symptoms of toenail fungus?

Infected toenails are often thicker than usual and may be oddly shaped. The nails can also break easily. Toenails with the fungus can be yellow; sometimes, a white dot appears on the nail and gets bigger over time. When fungus accumulates under your nail, it can loosen and separate it from the bed. The fungus may also spread to the surrounding skin.

What are the risk factors of toenail fungus?

You may have a higher risk of developing toenail fungus if you have athlete’s foot, diabetes, sweaty feet, a nail injury, or poor blood circulation. Psoriasis, a weakened immune system, smoking, and spending a lot of time in the water or walking barefoot in public areas can also increase your risk of getting toenail fungus.

How do doctors diagnose toenail fungus?

Your doctor can identify toenail fungus by simply observing your toes. But the provider may order a test to confirm it is a fungus infection. The test may involve your provider taking a small sample underneath your nail for further analysis. The provider can view the cells under a microscope to confirm a toenail fungus diagnosis. If the initial test is negative, your doctor can take another sample to see if the fungus grows in culture and help identify the type of fungus.

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What are the treatments for toenail fungus?

It is tricky to treat toenail fungus. You may require treatment for several months to get rid of the fungus. In some cases, toenail fungus recurs. In mild cases of toenail fungus, your doctor may not offer treatment. There are various treatments for toenail fungus, which include:

Oral antifungal medication

Your doctor may prescribe antifungal medications like fluconazole or itraconazole to treat your toenail fungus. You will need to take the drugs daily for several months or longer for effective results. Since antifungal medications can affect your liver, your doctor may order blood tests to check for potential side effects.

Topical medications

Your provider may recommend topical medication you regularly apply to the affected nail to treat the fungus over time. Topical medications ate most effective when used alongside oral medicines.

Laser treatments

Laser treatment involves your provider directing a high-tech laser beam and special lights at the affected toenail to treat fungus. The Food and Drug Administration approves laser treatments to increase nail clearness temporarily. Laser therapy’s effectiveness is lower than oral and topical medications.

Toenail fungus infection is often not painful. It makes your nail thicker, and a white dot may appear that grows over time. Your doctor can effectively treat toenail fungus with oral and topical medication. Schedule an appointment at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center for toenail fungus treatment to restore your normal nail color and shape.

 

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