Toenail fungus is an infection that gets in through cracks in your nail or cuts in your skin. It can make your toenail change color or get thicker. It can also hurt. Because toes are often warm and damp, fungus grows well there. Different kinds of fungi and sometimes yeast affect different parts of the nail. Left untreated, an infection could spread to other toenails, skin, or even your fingernails.
Nail fungus can affect fingernails, but it is more common in toenails. You may have nail fungus if one or more of your nails are:
- Whitish to yellow-brown discoloration
- Brittle, crumbly or ragged
- Distorted in shape
- A dark color, caused by debris building up under your nail
- Smelling slightly foul
Who Gets Toenail Fungus?
Mainly people who have diabetes, athlete’s foot, or a weak immune system, who smoke, or whose family members have it, are at a higher risk. If you spend a lot of time in the water or you have injured your toenail, your odds for getting toenail fungus go up.
What are the Treatments?
After treating around 6,000+ patients, the only treatment that we have seen work is an antifungal prescription pill and Yag laser treatments. The laser treatment is so precise that it only targets the nail fungus infected area without damaging any surrounding tissue. This toenail/fingernail fungus laser treatment also has a higher success rate than other treatments and without the risk of life-threatening liver problems.
Be smart about your footwear. Choose socks that wick moisture away. Change them regularly. Make sure your shoes fit well. They should be made of something that lets air move through it, like canvas, mesh, or leather. Wear shower shoes in wet public places like locker rooms and swimming pools.
Factors that can increase your risk of developing nail fungus include:
- Being older, owing to reduced blood flow, more years of exposure to fungi and slower growing nails
- Sweating heavily
- Having a history of athlete’s foot
- Walking barefoot in damp communal areas, such as swimming pools, gyms and shower rooms
- Having a minor skin or nail injury or a skin condition, such as psoriasis
- Having diabetes, circulation problems or a weakened immune system
A severe case of nail fungus can be painful and may cause permanent damage to your nails. And it may lead to other serious infections that spread beyond your feet if you have a suppressed immune system due to medication, diabetes, or other conditions. If you have diabetes, you may have reduced blood circulation and nerve supply in your feet. You are also at greater risk of a bacterial skin infection (cellulitis). So any relatively minor injury to your feet — including a nail fungal infection — can lead to a more serious complication.
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