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Toenail Fungus or Fungal nails

Toenail Fungus can be the cause of your funny looking nail. Do you have a discoloured or thickened toenail? Does your nail crumble or appear lifted from the nail bed? Then you may have onychomycosis; a fungal nail infection. These infections occur in the nail bed and sometimes the surrounding tissue. This condition commonly presents alongside tinea pedis (a fungal infection affecting the skin).

Our podiatrists are experts at the diagnosis and treatment of fungal toenail infections.

What causes Toenail Fungus?

    • Entry of fungal organisms into the nail bed (most commonly through repetitive microtrauma from footwear)
    • Fungal organisms establish a site of infection here
    • Fungal organisms release substances and proteins that break down keratin in the skin and nail
    • Over time the infection can then spread through the nail altering the thickness, colour and shape of the nail (and it may spread to other toenails too!)

What does a Fungal Nail look like?

If you have a fungal nail infection you may experience:

    • Thickening or onychauxis of the nail
    • Discolouration (often yellow, white or black) may come in the form of a single coloured streak, white powdery appearance or where the entire nail plate is affected
    • Onycholysis or lifting/separation of the nail plate from the nail bed
    • Dry and brittle which may result in crumbling of the nail

Previous trauma or injury to your toenail may also result in a similar nail appearance. Your podiatrist can help to examine your nail, help work out the cause of your nail change and advise you how to manage it.

Toenail Fungus on smaller toes
Toenail fungus is difficult to manage. Although it is typically harmless it doesn't look appealing. If you want tips on how to have nice clean nails again you have come to the right place.

If you have Toenail Fungus click HERE to book an appointment!

What increases my risk of Toenail Fungus?

1. Nail damage or trauma

    • This may cause lifting and separation of the nail which enables fungus to enter the nail bed and reproduce
    • Dark moist conditions under the nail then make for a better environment for the fungus to survive and reproduce

2. Warm and moist environments

    • Fungi thrive in warm, wet environments such as the communal change areas in gyms and swimming pools
    • Tight and occlusive footwear (especially when changed infrequently and if your feet get wet at work or sweat a lot!)

3. Reduced ability of the body to recognise, fight and destroy the fungus, such as with:

    • Those taking immunosuppressive agents
    • Certain diseases and conditions that interfere with the body’s immune system (such as HIV)
    • Increasing age
    • Poor circulation
    • Diabetes (in some cases)

So how do I treat Fungal Nails?

Depending on the severity and the amount of nail affected there are a range of treatment options. Treatment also depends on the type of fungal infection. After clinical assessment the team at Walk On Podiatry will advise you on the most suitable treatment option for you with the aim of having your feet looking and feeling their best.
These commonly include:

    • Regular cutting and burring (reduction of the thickness) of the nail using our specialised equipment.
    • Topical antifungal agents applied onto the nail and possibly also the surrounding skin (it is important that the nail is filed/reduced prior to application for increased penetration into the nail bed).
    • Oral antifungal medication in those eligible (i.e. with good liver/kidney function and no contraindications) and when confirmed by laboratory testing (our podiatrists will take a clipping of the nail and send it off for testing via your GP).

It is important to remember that as the toenails generally take a long time to grow (longer than the fingernails) that resolution of fungal toenail appearance may take 6-12 months to occur!

 

If you need advice on looking after your nails and help to manage your Fungal Nail infection.

Click HERE to Book an Appointment Online and let us help you!