Fungal infections in the toenail are relatively common, causing foul smells and unsightly appearances around the nail plate. If you recognize the symptoms of toenail fungus, you must meet with the right doctor, a podiatrist, for proper treatment.
Podiatrists will treat toenail fungus by using topical creams, removing part of the nail, and or using more modern methods like laser therapy to eliminate the infection. At Arizona Foot Doctors, our podiatrists conduct a thorough evaluation of your nail before starting treatment to better understand the infection’s origin, possible underlying conditions, and to create a treatment approach that best fits your needs and lifestyle.
Toenail fungus common questions
If you’re dealing with toenail fungus, the first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. Many people struggle with toenail fungus and have a lot of questions. How did the infection start? Can I treat the fungal infection at home? What kind of doctor should I see for toenail fungus? Does laser nail fungus removal work?
Symptoms of a fungal toenail infection
Although toenail fungus is relatively common, it isn’t unusual for people to keep their condition to themselves. Up to a point, it’s okay to ignore some thickening or discoloration. However, if the condition gets worse, you may begin to experience pain or unpleasant smells. The most common symptoms of an infection include:
- Thickening nails and distortion in shape
- Changes in color until nails are white, yellow, or brownish
- Nails begin to break and crumble
- The nail becomes detached from the toe
- An appearance of dark debris under the nails
- A slightly foul smell
If you’ve started to notice that nails are becoming warped or break easily, pay attention to whether you have any other related symptoms. Of course, catching an infection early is the best way to prevent further discomfort.
Causes of fungal infections
The leading cause of toenail fungus is an infection that gets into the nail. Sometimes, friction from shoes causes injury to the nails and makes them susceptible to infection. People with diabetes or athlete’s foot are often more likely to get the fungus. Other risk factors include smoking, family history, a weak immune system, a moist, warm environment, and a lot of time in the water. The infection will cultivate since the warm and moist environment of your shoes.
Toenail fungus treatment options
Fortunately, treatment options for toenail fungus are available. After a gentle evaluation of your nails, a podiatrist may prescribe an antifungal medication, administer laser therapy, or surgically remove affected nails. Medications could include a topical cream or nail lacquer, as well as prescription pills.
How does laser nail fungus removal work?
Laser nail fungus treatment involves the use of a 1064nm wavelength laser. Depending on the type of laser, light or carbon dioxide heats the nailbed, killing fungi and any spores present.
Why does laser nail fungus removal work better than other treatment methods?
This modern solution targets infections deep within the nail bed. During treatment, you can help recovery progress by keeping your feet as dry as possible, wearing protective footwear in public showers and locker rooms, not sharing nail clippers, and paying attention to your blood sugar levels.
See a podiatrist for toenail fungus treatment
If you’re uncomfortable with the appearance of your toes, make an appointment with a podiatrist. Professional, modern treatment methods are more effective at clearing up fungal infections than over the counter and home remedies.
Tackling a fungal infection on your own could be difficult and frustrating. Over-the-counter creams are often not strong enough to treat infections appropriately, and more complex treatments (like laser treatment) aren’t available for consumer use. The toenail fungus doctors, or podiatrists, at Arizona Foot Doctors are qualified to deal with many foot and ankle issues, including toenail fungus, and are dedicated to making you feel confident and comfortable throughout the treatment process.
After a gentle evaluation, our podiatrists will prescribe the most appropriate treatment for your situation, identify any underlying causes, and help you avoid future infections.