Does Fungal Nail Treatment Work?
Are you embarrassed to show your feet because your toes are discoloured and ridged? Do you regularly paint your toenails or wear closed shoes, hiding and ignoring what is going on underneath?
Having a fungal nail infection is not fun. They can be stubborn and tricky to get rid of, can make you feel self-conscious about your feet, may spread to other nails and surrounding skin, and can create a hole in your wallet that does not seem to reap any rewards. So, what can you do?
We regularly assess and treat fungal nail infections at Midland Podiatry. Though getting rid of this condition can be difficult, it is not impossible. We can help to find the right treatment for you to work towards improvement.
Fungal nail infections are common, so over-the-counter treatments and natural remedies abound. But do they do what they say they will do? Read on to find out how fungal nail treatment works and how we can help you.
What Is A Fungal Nail Infection?
We don’t want to gross you out, but having fungus on your body is not uncommon. When it targets and infiltrates your nails, it can develop into a case of fungal nail infection.
This often starts with the appearance of small yellow or white spots at the tip of the toenail. The longer the infection sticks around, the more serious the symptoms become. These can include:
- White, yellow, green, brown, or black discolouration.
- Changes in shape.
- Changes in the texture and quality of the nail, such as thickening, crumbling, ridges, and brittleness.
- Nail growth into the surrounding skin.
- Nail separation from the nail bed.
- Discomfort with pressure.
- Unpleasant odour.
What Causes A Fungal Nail Infection?
Increasing the chance of exposing your feet to fungus is a pivotal factor in fungal nail infections. This can involve situations such as walking with bare feet in communal areas, particularly those which are damp, sharing items like towels and socks, and using unsterilised tools in nail salons. Fungus loves feet because they tend to be warm, moist areas, which promotes their growth.
Fungus is the primary cause of fungal nail infections, but there are a wide variety of contributing factors. Which of these apply to you can affect how long your infection may remain and how bad the symptoms are.
Factors that increase the chance of fungus in the nail area developing into a fungal nail infection include:
- Small weaknesses or breaks in the surrounding skin.
- Certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis.
- Decreased function of the immune system.
- The presence of diabetes.
- Poor circulation.
- Being older with reduced blood flow and a decreased nail growth rate.
- Having had athlete’s foot, or tinea, in the past.
- Tendency to sweat heavily.
What Treatments Are Available For Fungal Nail Infections?
There is a variety of treatment options when it comes to fungal nail infections. We will first thoroughly assess your nail to make the diagnosis.
We may trim the affected nail to the point where it attaches to the nail bed to manually remove as much of the fungus as possible. This process may also involve scraping away any debris underneath the nail.
To increase the likelihood of getting rid of the infection, further treatment is usually required. There is not a definitive solution for fungal nail infections, but treatment options that may help can include:
- Topical antifungal medication in the form of creams or lacquers.
- Thinning the nail.
- Nail removal, manually or chemically.
- Laser treatment, which involves a light that painlessly penetrates the nail. This light is believed to kill the fungus by heating and destroying the cells.
- Oral antifungal medications, which your doctor can discuss with you.
Can I Prevent Fungal Nail Infections?
Fungal nail infections are common, but they do not have to be inevitable. The following steps may help to prevent infections:
- Make sure your feet are dry and change sweaty socks as soon as possible.
- Wear shoes that allow your toes to move.
- Keep your nails short and level.
- Use footwear in communal areas, such as changing rooms.
If you do have a fungal nail infection, cut the affected nail with different clippers or scissors than you use for your other nails.
Midland Podiatry Can Help Treat Your Fungal Nail Infection
Fungal nail infections tend to stay around for a long time. That is why it is beneficial to seek professional assistance as early as possible, before symptoms become severe.
When you visit Midland Podiatry, we will begin a suitable treatment option and provide advice on how to deal with the infection and encourage healthy nail growth.
If you have symptoms that may point to a fungal nail infection, please contact us to make an appointment to see one of our friendly team members.