Toenail Fungus , What Is It ? Where Did I Get It? How Do I Treat It?
Toenail Fungus, is no way to start your day. For many Americans though their day starts like this. So you woke up to a beautiful day to go to the beach on Long Island. Spent part of the morning sprucing up the nail polish on your toenails. Upon removal of the old polish, you discovered that several of your toenails appeared whitish with spots of dark green. What was going on?
Toenail fungus or onychomycosis occurs when a fungus penetrates the toenail and the skin under the nail (nail bed). This causes the nail to thicken, loosen and/or become discolored. The nail can take on a whitish color or have shades of blue, green and yellow.
What causes this to occur? A fungal infection can be contagious. If a person frequents a gym, nail salon or other public place where people walk barefoot or is not sanitized properly, there is a pretty good chance of acquiring toenail fungus. Fungus grows best in a warm, moist environment which is why nail fungus is much more common in the toenails versus the fingernails.
Trauma such as a tight fitting shoe, or bumping your toe can also cause a fungal infection. Once the nail becomes damaged it becomes a portal of entry for nail fungus. If bleeding occurs under the toenail from an injury, it sometimes is difficult to tell if the discoloration is from coagulated blood or a toenail fungus. Usually a biopsy or a clipping of the nail can make that determination.
How is this ugly and embarrassing condition treated? There are several good treatment options. Medications such as oral anti-fungals can be used in a healthy person with no other medical conditions. Oral medications can occasionally cause side effects such as elevation of liver enzymes. Safer and effective treatment options include debridement of the nails by a podiatrist, topical anti-fungals, and laser treatment. While undergoing treatment for the fungal infection, KeryFlex, a medical resin, can be applied to the affected nails to give them a normal appearance. The newest innovation are laser nail treatments. With a series of short painless Fungus Nail Laser Treatments, the organism that causes nail fungus (onychomycosis)
Toenail fungus can be stubborn and re-infect the nails. This risk can be reduced by applying an anti-fungal/anti-bacterial spray into shoes, wearing proper shoegear in public places, drying feet well after bathing and if you go for pedicures-make sure the facility properly sterilizes their instruments.
Toenail fungus is a bothersome condition that can be unsightly but with proper treatment and prevention, the toenails can be cleared from infection.