Nail yellowing (Fungal Infection)
· Progressive toenail yellowing and thickening which is often ugly and embarrassing.
· Are often ignored because the infection can be present for years without causing any pain.
· Are caused by a fungal infection underneath the toenail. The nail often becomes darker in colour and foul smelling.
· Debris may collect beneath the nail plate. Infection is capable of spreading to other toenails, the skin, or even the fingernails. If ignored, the infection can spread and possibly impair one’s ability to work or even walk comfortably. This happens because the resulting thicker nails are difficult to trim and make walking painful when wearing shoes.
· Toenails are especially vulnerable around damp areas where people are likely to be walking barefoot, such as swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers. Those who suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immune-deficiency conditions, are especially prone to fungal nails. Other contributing factors may be a history of athlete’s foot and excessive perspiration
Preventing Fungal Toenails
· Shower shoes should be worn when possible in public areas.
· Shoes, socks, or hosiery should be changed more than once daily.
· Avoid wearing excessively tight hosiery, which promote moisture.
· Socks made of synthetic fiber tend to “wick” away moisture faster than cotton or wool socks
· Don’t apply polish to nails suspected of infection—those that are red, discolored, or swollen, for example
·At the fist sign of yellowing or thickening of your toenails, you should seek the expert advice of a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine
· Avoid salon pedicures (especially pedicures where the cuticle is pushed back exposing the area to infection) since the instruments used may not be properly sterilized and cross-contamination with fungus or the wart virus can result.
· Proper hygiene and regular inspection of the feet and toes are the first lines of defense against fungal nails. Clean and dry feet resist disease. Washing the feet with soap and water, remembering to dry thoroughly
Treatment of Fungal Nails
· Even the best over-the-counter treatments cannot cure a fungal toenail because they cannot penetrate through the nail plate to the nail bed where the fungus lives. Treatments like tea tree oil may sound appealing but typically fail.
· Your foot specialist can detect a fungal infection early, culture the nail, determine the cause, and form a suitable treatment plan, which may include prescribing topical or oral medication, and debridement (removal of diseased nail matter and debris) or surgical removal of a chronically painful nail may be needed.
· There are new products used to help sterilize your shoes which can be a breeding ground for fungus. These can be obtained through your foot specialist.
· Topical treatments are available at our office which combine several anti-fungal medications to cover a wider array of fungal organisms and increase your chances of eliminating fungal toenails compared to previous single medication treatments of the past
· LASER treatment called Genesis Plus is now available to help increase the clarity of toenails in patients with fungal toenails with minimal potential for side effects and is used along side topical or oral medication. It has been reported by Cutera that LASER use often results in a clear new nail as it grows out.