Toenail fungus can be an irritating problem to have, mostly because of the way it makes your toes look. The condition affects about 14% of people. As with all health problems, treating it as soon as possible is always the best. But who do you go to get the best treatment?
HowDo Podiatrists Deal with Toenail Fungus?
With their educational background and training, podiatrists are the best medical specialists to find when dealing with toenail fungus. They have extensive training and knowledge when it comes to all things foot and ankle.
To get the best treatment for your fungal infection, they are your best bet. Here’s how a podiatrist will address your toenail fungus:
The first thing they will do is examine the affected toenail. Oftentimes, a visual inspection is enough to tell if it is a fungal infection and not something else.
If looking at it isn’t enough, your podiatrist will get a small sample from under your toenail for further analysis.
Using a microscope, they can confirm if your toenail is suffering from a fungal infection. The fungus can also be further analyzed by growing in a culture.
When the fungal infection has been diagnosed, your podiatrist will offer various treatment options. Toenail fungus can be difficult to treat and mostly depends on the infection’s severity and the fungus type. Treatment can even last several months.
Most treatment options will involve:
- Topical gels
- Antifungal prescription medicine
- Surgery for the temporary removal of the toenail for direct application of antifungal drugs
Very rarely will a permanent removal of the nail be necessary.
What Is Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus refers to the fungal infection of your toenails. This happens when fungi get underneath your toenail through a cut.
While the big toe is the usual victim of this infection, multiple toenails can be infected simultaneously.
At first, it will look like a white, yellowish, or brownish spot under the tip of your toenail. As the fungus spreads, the nail will then change color.
Eventually, it will thicken and crack around its edges.
While toenail fungus can affect anyone, it is more common among older adults over 60. Other people who are likely to get it are those who have:
- Athlete’s foot
- Hyperhidrosis (a disorder that makes you sweat profusely)
- Poor blood circulation
- Psoriasis (a chronic autoimmune skin disease that causes rashes with itchy, scaly patches)
- A weakened immune system
Toenail fungus isn’t a serious concern if you are otherwise healthy. The most significant symptom is the change in how your toenail looks.
However, leaving it untreated will cause it to spread further. For patients with other conditions, like diabetes or a weak immune system, bacterial infection of the surrounding skin is likely.
What Are Podiatrists?
Podiatrists are medical professionals trained to address problems affecting your feet or lower legs. They are also called podiatric physicians or doctors of podiatric medicine.
To become a podiatrist, one has to finish four years of undergraduate school, followed by four years of studying in a podiatric medical school and three to four years of residency. This differs from the usual medical school other kinds of doctors attend.
Before they can be called a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM), they will have to earn their board certification.
To do this, they must pass two podiatric board qualification exams from the:
- American Board of Podiatric Medicine (ABPM)
- American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS)
Common Conditions They Address
Thanks to their training, they are skilled in diagnosing a range of foot and ankle problems. They are also experienced in providing the appropriate treatments for each of these conditions.
While noninvasive techniques are the most popular, podiatrists can also train to perform surgical treatments.
Some of the foot and ankle conditions podiatrists are skilled at treating include:
- Athlete’s foot
- Corns and calluses
- Diabetic foot ulcers
- Fallen arches
- Heel spurs
- Ingrown nails
- Plantar fasciitis
- Soft tissue masses or tumors
Trusted Podiatrist in Hamilton, Ohio
Are you suffering from a fungal infection in your toenail and looking for a trusted podiatrist in Hamilton, Ohio? You can come to Cincinnati Foot and Ankle Care. Our team of board-certified podiatrists is highly experienced in providing personalized treatments to patients.
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with one of our outstanding podiatrists, contact our location near you or by filling out our easy-to-use appointment request form online now. We look forward to being your podiatric healthcare partner!
We look forward to serving you!