Discolored dystrophic nails are important to diagnose as soon as thickening misshaping of your toenails is noticeable. Unless a piece of your nail is sent to a pathology lab to make sure it is fungus, the diagnosis is the easiest part, and treatments range from cortisone creams, oral medication, and even laser therapy that eradicates fungus from the root.
What Is Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus is an infection that gets into your nail through cracks in your nail or skin. It could make your toenail change its color or thicken considerably. Pain can also occur. Your toes are often warm and damp — perfect conditions for fungus growth. Different kinds of fungi and yeast affect different parts of your nail.
Risk Factors for Toenail Fungus
- Athlete’s Foot – Being a fungus, athlete’s foot can lead to the proliferation of other fungi in and around your toes and nails.
- Diabetes – Diabetic Neuropathy causes nerve damage and numbness in your limbs. You may have an injury to your nail, which puts you at risk of fungal infection.
- Immunodeficient – if you have a weak immune system you are more susceptible to infections in general.
- Injury – Along with spending time in the water, injuries can loosen your nail and the skin around it, exposing the area under your nail. As your foot heals or dries, fungus can get trapped in the once-exposed area.
What Are The Symptoms Of Toenail Fungus?
Your infected nail will usually become thicker than normal and becomes warped or oddly shaped. The nail can break easily, or become yellowed. A white dot may show up and then increase in size. Fungus can also build up under your nail, then eventually loosen and spread to the skin around your nail. To prevent toenail fungus, make sure you keep your feet dry and clean and wear shoes that fit well and let air through. Wear shower shoes in wet public places, and trim your nails straight across with clean tools after washing with soap and water (dry thoroughly, especially in between toes).
When left without treatment, this infection could spread to your other toenails, your skin, and even your fingernails. It is important to treat this fungus right away, as it is stubborn to treat but can respond to aggressive treatments.
Dr. Reza Mobarak is a board certified by the American Board of Podiatry. Dr. Mobarak is the Founder and Director of Southwest Foot and Ankle Center with three convenient locations in Lewisville, Plano, and Irving. He specializes in pediatric foot care, reconstructive surgery, sports injuries, limb salvage, and wound care; as well as peripheral nerve disease. Named Top10MD in 2016 an honor only 1-in-3 doctors succeeds with in the United States. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Reza Mobarak link on his name or call 972.805.9985.