What you need to know about fungal nails

Summer is around the corner, which means more time for fun in the sun. However, depending on where you live and your typical daily activities, your options for summer fun might differ. From poolside lounging to trips abroad, there are many possibilities of what your summer will look like.

There’s a sense of relief and joy when people take off their shoes in the summer, being able to feel the earth between their toes, and go barefoot. But others are entering summer with fear and apprehension because of fungal nail infections!

If you have toenail fungus, you might not be so thrilled when you go to the beach or try on a new pair of sandals. Your feet don’t have to look like this — most cases of fungal toenails won’t prevent you from doing anything. But, you may be self-conscious about going barefoot in public spaces.

How will a fungal infection affect you?

Fungal nails are often unsightly — A fungal infection will most often make the nails thick and discoloured in a dull yellow or brownish colour. They can also make the nails distorted and damaged, making them appear rugged and misshapen. 

Fungal nails can be painful –  A lot of people have toenail fungus without experiencing any pain. But if the nail curves and sticks out instead, this may cause some discomfort. This is usually because it’s stuck in the skin and is painful because it becomes an ingrown toenail. This can be especially dangerous for people who suffer from diabetes and other conditions that weaken the immune system or blood flow to the feet. If left untreated, a fungal toenail can lead to a severe infection or even amputation of the foot.

Fungal infections are highly contagious – They are caused by a microscopic fungus called Dermatophytes. Dermatophytes can infect areas on the skin, causing various problems such as athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm. The fungus spreads from person to person through direct contact as well as indirect contact, such as sharing a towel or walking barefoot in an area that your family member has also walked barefoot in. The fungus can also spread to other toes or parts of the body.

Fungal nails are not always preventable – They can’t always be avoided, unfortunately. The risk of developing them is actually not that difficult to come by. All it takes is a minor injury to the nail or skin to create an opening for fungus to grow in your toes, and unfortunately, your toes and feet are the perfect place for the fungus to thrive as they love warm and moist environments.  

Fungal nail treatment options

Unlike verrucas, a fungal infection won’t go away on its own. It’s impossible to out-wait a fungus! It will never run out of keratin to break down, so if you don’t resolve the problem, it will only get worse.

Home remedies rarely work for curing toenail fungus. Most topical, over-the-counter antifungals are ineffective in treating toenail fungus because they don’t penetrate past the nail. However, success rates increase with use frequency. It can take anywhere from one month to 12 months before there is any significant difference.

Treating nail fungus can take a long time. Since the fungus isn’t killed immediately, it could take months to go away, and any damage done during that time will likely remain.

It’s important to see a podiatrist when you think you may have a fungal infection. A well-trained podiatrist can ensure that you have been given the correct diagnosis and provide you with the best possible treatment.

At Foot Focus Podiatry, we will start by assessing your condition and then recommend the best possible treatment method, which could include an oral medication, a fungal spray that you would put on your shoes, a cream for your feet and low-level light therapy. 

If you think you may have a fungal infection, please do get in contact with us. We’ll be happy to help you treat the condition.

*This blog contains general information about medical conditions and is not advice. You must not rely upon the information in this blog as medical advice. Medical advice should always be sought from an appropriately qualified podiatrist such as ourselves.



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