Are your feet looking their best for sandal season? Or have you noticed a toenail or two that appears thickened or ragged, dull and discolored? If so you may have a nail fungus in one or more of your nails.
Where Does Nail Fungus Come From?
The microscopic organism that causes toenail fungal infections thrives in warm, moist, dark environments – just like the inside of your shoes, especially in warmer weather. The infection is contagious and can be picked up at swimming pools and showers.
Nail fungus is somewhat harder to treat than Athlete’s foot, another foot fungus. The nail plate may be affected as well as the skin, and the infection may spread to other toenails and skin areas.
Fungal Nail Treatment Options
Over-the counter products are sometimes helpful but often the infection recurs, and then it’s time to visit a podiatrist. At Your Next Step in Ardmore and Paoli, PA, we will assess the extent of the fungal condition and begin treatments that may include:
- Oral prescription medications. These allow for new nail growth that is free of infection and it may take up to 4 months to eliminate the infected area. Discuss potential side effects of these drugs with your foot doctor.
- Anti-fungal nail cream or lotion. Applying these products directly to the fungal nail after soaking the foot can help, especially when used along with an oral prescription.
- Laser treatment. This state-of-the-art technology that evaporates fungal spores on contact is available at our Ardmore office in our New Nail Laser Center. Eric Ricefield explains in an informative video that laser treatments are 88-90% effective in treating fungal nails. Best of all, the treatments are painless with no complications and won’t harm healthy tissue or skin.
- Removing the nail. If other treatments fail or the infection is severe we may remove the nail to allow a new nail to grow in its place.
Preventing Fungal Toenails
Dr. Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen assure their patients that a few common-sense foot care steps can help avoid toenail fungus:
- Keep feet as clean and dry as possible. Dry feet completely after bathing, especially between the toes.
- Wear clean socks every day and keep footwear clean.
- Choose shoes made of breathable materials.
- Wear flip-flops or shower shoes in public pool, shower and locker room areas.
- Use clean instruments like nail clippers and files to trim your toenails.
Talk to Us about Fungal Nail Treatment Options
Call or email us today for a consultation appointment at Your Next Step. With so many treatment options available, especially effective and painless laser treatments, your toenails can soon be in tip top shape.