When it comes to topics that the majority of people do not want to discuss, toenail fungus is at the top of the list. This is understandable, but it can be problematic for people who find themselves with a reason to know more about it. While it can be less than ideal to find yourself with a suspected or confirmed case of toenail fungus, don’t worry. The field of podiatry has come a long way to make sure that if you find yourself with any kind of toenail fungus problems, there are ways for you to easily and comfortably manage it. With the help of your local foot doctor, you can rid yourself of any fungal problems that might be plaguing your feet.
What Is Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a fungal infection that grows specifically around your nails. You can sometimes identify it as a discolored spot underneath your nail, but most people don’t recognize it until it begins to become a bigger problem. Since the majority of people don’t spend their time analyzing their toenails, it’s not uncommon for people to miss the beginning stages of an infection entirely. After all, the human body is known to do strange things, and sometimes it can be difficult to discern between what is an odd occurrence and what is a true problem. Toenail fungus can actually be both of these things.
As is the case with most medical concerns, toenail fungus can vary widely in severity. There are minor cases of toenail fungus that don’t turn into a problem that the body can handle by itself. Some infections can be managed at home using specific over the counter medications. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there are toenail fungus infections that require a trip to your local foot doctor to manage before they get worse or cause you problems. A severe toenail fungus infection is not something that most people enjoy looking at. While there are certainly worse conditions, this one tends to be universally disliked by those who experience it.
Though toenail fungus might start out as a small spot in your nail, it can grow to a point where there are notable symptoms. A major point of focus is the way that it impacts your general toenail appearance. In many cases, the fungus can turn your nail white or yellow. The result is an unbecoming look that makes your nail look dirty and misshapen, which is not something that most people want to see when they look down at their toes. In addition to general appearance, toenail fungus can have pretty significant impacts on your toenail health. You might find that your toenails become very thick, and in many cases they will become brittle and prone to breakages. This leads to more concerns with nail appearance because it can make the nail look rotten and gnarled. As if that isn’t enough, in some instances, toenail fungus can even lead to an unbecoming foot odor. While most of us end up with stinky feet after a hot day, the fungus smell is something else to contend with entirely.
Treating Toenail Fungus
When it comes to treating toenail fungus, there are varying degrees of treatment depending on your needs. At Treasure Valley Foot and Ankle, we would advise that if you suspect yourself of having toenail fungus, you have it looked at. While there are over the counter treatment options available, if you fail to treat your infection correctly, you do run the risk of it returning. Medical assistance is the best possible way to spare your toenails from further infection.
Treating toenail fungus comes in a variety of ways depending on budget, severity, and chance of recurrence. There are oral medications that can be taken and have a wide range of effectiveness. These antifungals might require you to take them for an extended period of time, but they tend to work more quickly than some of the other options, which makes people favor them. Other popular options include the use of medicated lotions, creams, and nail polishes. These topical treatments can easily be applied to the nail and surrounding area in order to help stop the fungal growth and begin the healing process. These versions can take slightly longer, but in some cases they might take less time overall to treat the effected area. There are some factors that can impact the success rate with topicals including how thick your nail is, how well you clean your feet, and what kind of environment you keep them in.
Toenail fungus is not something that anyone wants, but it has been known to happen. While there are preventative steps that we can all take in the fight against fungus, sometimes there is simply no avoiding it. If you or a loved one find yourself with a presumed case of toenail fungus, don’t panic. A quick appointment with your local foot doctor can help you to rectify the problem before it gets worse. Though toenail fungus might look like a bad problem, it is generally not dangerous and can be treated with a little dedication. Just remember to thank your favorite podiatrist for helping you to heal!