Infections that develop on the foot can often be unsightly and embarrassing. They’re especially hard to cope with during the summer months because this is when you’re supposed to have your feet out the most. One of the more common infections that you may be facing if you’re keeping your feet under wraps are toenail fungal infections. Fortunately, these infections are easy to fix if you catch them soon enough so that you can avoid any significant damage and keep your feet looking healthy. If you believe you may be dealing with a fungal infection in your toenails, here are some facts about toenail fungus and potential treatment for your case.
What is toenail fungus and where does it come from?
Toenail fungus is a type of fungal infection that occurs when fungal organisms find their way under the nail and begin spreading. According to Dr. Velimir Petkov, a top podiatrist in NJ, “These organisms thrive in dark, moist environments, which is why fungal infections on your toenails are often more common than your fingernails: Sweaty shoes and socks are ideal conditions for the infection to spread.” “That is why it’s of utmost importance to replace one’s shoes often and change your socks frequently to prevent athlete’s foot and toenail fungus,” adds Dr. Petkov.
There are other risk factors that may add to an individual’s possibility of developing a fungal infection. These include:
- Having a skin injury close to a toenail or having a toenail injury
- Having diabetes
- Having poor circulation in the feet
- Walking around barefoot in public areas that are frequently damp, such as swimming pools and locker rooms at the gym
- Having a weak immune system
Once a fungal infection begins developing, you may begin to see visible signs of the infection developing, such as yellowing or whitening of the nail, crumbling, pitting, and scaling. This can lead to the overall loss of a nail if the fungus is left untreated.
How can I treat it?
Treatment is absolutely necessary, and you should take care of the problem as soon as possible to avoid any severe damage to your nail. Although a trip to your doctor is advised at any stage of the infection, some people prefer to try home remedies. Keep in mind, however, that home remedies are not always effective or recommended.
Some of the most common home remedies include using Vicks VapoRub on the nails each day, applying snakeroot extract to the nail, applying tea tree oil twice a day, or soaking your feet in Listerine for 30 minutes a day. Regardless of which home remedy you choose to pursue, make sure to conduct adequate research and find proper studies that back the usage and efficiency of these home remedies.
If you find that home remedies are not working as well as you had hoped or your condition is worsening, reach out to a doctor as soon as possible. Nail fungus treatments that may be prescribed by a professional include oral medications that help to battle the fungus internally, medical-level nail polish that is painted over the toe regularly, or antifungal creams that are spread on and around the affected area. If the condition is bad enough, laser therapy or partial/entire nail removal may be necessary to remedy the infection.
A fungal infection in your toenails may be embarrassing. Allowing your condition to go untreated will only result in further (and possibly permanent) damage.
If you notice symptoms of toenail fungus and are unable to take care of it yourself or simply want a professional opinion and treatment, make sure to reach out to your local podiatrist to get help for it today.