Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nails. This is a common infection that often (40 percent of the time) accompanies a fungal infection in another area of the body. Fungi can live in warm, dark, moist environments like shoes, socks and stockings, and often infect your toenail beds when the protective nail surface becomes damaged or broken. In addition, there is a possibility that the toenail fungus can infect through person-to-person contact in social places such as health clubs, pools, showers, or even shared emery boards as used in a professional nail salon. Once a nail fungus makes itself at home in your nail bed, it can be difficult to eliminate and should be treated immediately by a podiatrist.
Fungal infections affect the appearance of the toenails and can symptomatically cause pain. This may be due to the thickness of the nail causing friction inside shoe gear or even create ingrown toenail pain leading to infection. Typically, you will first notice the fungal infection because of nail discoloration. You may develop green or yellow nails, or nails that turn an even darker color.
Other symptoms of a nail fungus may include:
- Thick and flaky nails
- Collection of debris under the nail causing a foul odor
- Splitting of the nail
- Pit marks on the nail
Onychomycosis is one of the most difficult fungal infections to eradicate. Treatment options may include prescription and non-prescription topical therapy, oral prescription (by mouth) medications, laser therapy, and surgical intervention. The success rates of these treatment options do vary according to many factors including the patient’s medical history, and compliance with the treatment regimen. A visit to one of the podiatric surgeons of Northwest Podiatry Center will help provide our patients with the best treatment solution to fungal toenails.
We’re here to help you. For more information, or to make an appointment, please contact the physicians of Northwest Podiatry Center, at any of our convenient locations.