Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is an infection and a common foot condition that usually occurs in warm, wet environments when fungi enter the nail through a break or cut. The condition begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of the toenail. As the infection grows deeper, it may cause discoloration and make the toenail brittle. This infection can spread from one toenail to another and even to the skin.
Toenail fungus causes discomfort and pain in the foot, especially when wearing shoes. The resulting brittle and thicker nails are difficult to trim. At the first sign of toenail fungus, you should see a podiatrist. The earlier you seek treatment, the higher the chance of preventing it from spreading.
To diagnose your condition, your doctor will review your medical history and examine the infected toenail. To confirm the diagnosis, a sample from underneath the edge of your toenail may be retrieved and examined to determine the cause and form a suitable treatment plan.
Treatment for toenail fungus can be done in a few ways. It can be treated with topical gels, creams, nail lacquers, or oral antifungal medicine. The treatment will vary depending on the nature and severity of the infection you have. It can take a few months for the toe to completely heal and for the infection to disappear.
Your podiatrist will trim your toenail, and apply the initial treatment in the office. You will be given instructions on how often to apply the treatment when at home and when to come back for checkups. Until the toenail fungus completely goes away, you must be diligent in treatment. Otherwise, the toenail fungus may spread again.
Toenail fungus can generally be effectively treated with little complications. Although surgery is not a common treatment for toenail fungus, it may be required in some cases. In some severe cases, the infected nail may be removed to permit the application of a topical antifungal directly to the area. In other cases where other treatments do not work, and the condition continues to worsen, the nail may be permanently removed to prevent more complications.
It is crucial to have proper hygiene and regular inspection of feet and toes to avoid developing fungus. Take note of the following preventive measures:
- Keep your feet clean and dry. Avoid damp shoes and socks as they foster fungal growth.
- Trim your nails straight across.
- Wear shoes that fit well to let your feet breathe.
- Avoid walking barefoot.
- Disinfect pedicure tools.
Toenail Fungus Treatment in Ohio
Toenail fungus infections can be easily treated with the help of an experienced podiatrist. Attempting to treat the infection without a professional’s help can lead to more problems.
The experts at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care provide accurate and quick diagnoses as well as effective treatments for all toes of foot and ankle issues, including toenail fungus.
Our podiatrists provide the most advanced and effective treatments for your foot and ankle needs. To arrange an appointment, call one of our 18 locations across southwest Ohio. You can also request an appointment online.