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The area of the toes is generally warm and damp, unfortunately making it a great area for fungus to grow. If left untreated, the fungal infection can spread, which is why it’s so important to get professional help early on and look into your treatment options.
Fungal infections occur due to fungus getting through the cracks of the toes or cuts in your skin. Common signs that you may have a fungal infection include thicker than normal toenails, oddly shaped toenails, discoloration, a yellowish hue to the nail, and separation of the nail and nail bed. Fungal infections can affect anyone but are most common among men, those with diabetes or athlete’s foot, and smokers. The risk of having toenail fungus also increases as you age, if another family member has it, and if you have a weaker immune system.
To avoid getting a fungal infection, it’s important that you wash your feet daily with soap and water, making sure to get in between your toes, and dry the feet well. When cutting your toenails, make sure the clippers you’re using are clean and that you’re cutting straight across. It’s also important that you wear shoes in areas where fungus can thrive, such as wet public places like swimming pools or locker rooms.
Toenail fungus can also be treated with certain over-the-counter antifungal creams and ointments. To remove pressure from the nails, keep them cut at a short length. Oral antifungal drugs, medicated nail cream, or medicated nail polish may also be prescribed by your podiatrist if simpler treatments do not prove successful. In some cases, your podiatrist may also recommend laser treatment to eradicate toenail fungus.
Patients should visit their local podiatrist if they suspect they have toenail fungus. In its more severe stages, toenail fungus can become very painful. Other infections can develop from toenail fungus that can spread to other parts of the body. Upon examination for fungus, your podiatrist may scrape your nails if he or she finds debris. This sample will be sent to a lab to determine what fungus is causing the condition.
If you believe you’re experiencing a fungal toenail infection, we recommend that you speak with a podiatrist as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and suggested plan for treatment.
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