Toenail fungus, medically known as onychomycosis, is an infection usually caused by fungi called dermatophytes. Some infections are caused by molds or yeasts. Toenail fungus may also be a result of an untreated athlete’s foot. This happens when the foot’s infection spreads and infects the nail bed. This can be very embarrassing for people so they tend to hide their nails from the world. People with toenail fungus avoid wearing open-toed shoes like sandals.
Fungal nail infections cause the nail to become thick, deformed, crumbly, and yellow or brownish. The infection can go unnoticed in the beginning. It may start from the tip, the sides of the nail bed. In the beginning, it may just appear as a small white dot or a little yellow discoloration. If left untreated, the infection becomes worse, resulting in thick, discolored nails. Some cases may develop a foul odor.
It can be difficult to treat toenail fungus. The toenail itself grows slowly and the fungi are stubborn. It can get into the multiple layers of the nail plate and the nail bed. This makes it difficult for antifungal agents to reach. Topical medications that are available over the counter are not strong enough to eradicate the fungi. They are also unable to reach the nail bed where the majority of the infection lies. Read one of our blog posts about the infectivity of topical treatments here.
Besides topical treatments being ineffective, there are oral medications available that may be used to treat toenail fungus. They may be more effective than topical treatments but can be dangerous to the liver. Patients who take antifungal medication need to go through regular blood tests to check for liver toxicity.
The best way to treat toenail fungus, in preparation for sandal season, is with laser treatment. At Laser nail Therapy, we use the PinPointe Laser that uses a concentrated heat source that will get rid of all the fungus in the nail and nail bed. After the treatment, your toenail should grow back healthy and fungus free, with the confidence to wear sandals again!
If you have toenail fungus or it’s symptoms, contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our doctors. We have over 120 clinics in the United States and Canada, including La Grange, Texas.