Fungal infection is the most common cause of yellowed, thick, and/or deformed toenails. The same fungus that causes Athlete’s Foot is the most common fungus that affects toenails. The infection generally progresses slowly, damaging the nail more over time and is limited to nails and skin. Usually the infection starts at the tip of the nail, working its way back towards the toe. Since fungus prefers a moist, dark, and warm environment, sweaty feet contribute to the initial infection process. Because the infection is not painful, it often isn’t noticed until the fungus is well established. Sometimes the infection only occurs on one foot and any number of toenails can be affected. As time progresses, the nail become thickened, crumbly, and distorted.
How Do I Avoid a Fungal Toenail Infection?
The fungal toenail infection is not highly contagious. Family members are almost as likely to contract it from other sources as they are from the family member who has the infection. Keep common showering areas clean and avoid sharing shoes.
How is a Fungal Toenail Infection Diagnosed?
Thickened or yellowed toenails may be due to a fungal infection or damage caused to the nail root from an injury. When the nail root has been damaged, anti-fungal medications will not correct the malformed nail. Small bone spurs that form under the toenail and psoriasis can also cause thickening toenails. A Dallas podiatrist can take a scraping and culture to confirm the diagnosis of a fungal infection.
How Do You Treat a Fungal Toenail Infection?
Begin treatment as soon as possible. If you catch the infection early, over the counter medications may be sufficient to clear up the outbreak. Make a point to also treat any Athlete’s Foot infections that are outside of the nail. If the infection is advanced, prescription medication may be required. Effective topical and oral medications are available. If you have sweaty feet change shoes and socks during the day. Your Dallas podiatrist can also suggest some topical medications to help reduce feet sweating. Removing the toenail may also be recommended by your foot doctor.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, request an appointment with us.
Metroplex Foot and Ankle is a progressive group of physicians and surgeons who are committed to helping our patients to achieve their full wellness potential. Contact our Dallas Podiatrist, Garland Podiatrist, or Richardson Podiatrist offices to schedule an appointment today.