Inside the World of Discolored, Brittle, Ugly Toenails
What is Nail Fungus?
If you are embarrassed of your toenails because they are thickened and discolored, you most likely have a nail fungus problem. Referred to as onychomycosis, this is a very common foot problem that Dr. Danciger treats regularly at his Palm Desert, CA office. This condition is a fungal infection in one or more of your toenails. It can start out very inconspicuous as a small white or yellow dot under your toenail. It usually spreads deeper over time, resulting in nails that are discolored, thick, crumbling and possibly separated from the nail bed. The affected toenails can become painful and give off a slight foul odor as well.
What are the Symptoms of Nail Fungus?
Knowing what to look for when it comes to nail fungus is a huge part of prevention and enables you to act quickly when treatment is needed. You want to look for any changes to your toenails, which can include one or more of the following symptoms:
- Change in nail shape
- Loss of shine or luster
- Lifting up of the nail off the nail bed
- Yellow or white spots and streaks on the nail
- Debris building up under the nail, giving it a darker color
- Nail that is painful to the touch
- Nail that has a slight foul odor
What Caused My Nail Fungal Infection?
Unfortunately, this condition is often difficult to control as the fungus that causes the infection is found in many places. This fungus thrives in areas that are dark, damp and warm such as locker rooms, showers and pool areas. Your shoes are also a perfect breeding ground. The fungus can be picked up through a tiny cut in your skin or a small separation between your nail and the nail bed. Some other risk factors for developing a nail fungus infection include:
- Wearing tight, poorly-fitting shoes or shoes and socks that have become wet
- Working in a humid environment
- Having Athlete’s foot or psoriasis
- Perspiring heavily
- Having diabetes or a circulation problem
What is the Treatment For Nail Fungus?
A common problem with nail fungus is that many patients often see a slight color change or toenail shape change as just something cosmetic. For this reason, treatment is not sought and self-care methods often further aggravate the problem. A delay in treatment allows the infection to grow, which can develop into an abscess and cause a lot of pain and pressure.
A nail fungus problem can be difficult to treat and many over the counter treatments are not effective. The quicker you start treatment, the better and the best way is to contact Dr. Danciger. Our patients have very positive results with our treatment methods and many do not have to deal with the problem recurring in the future. Some of the treatment options available to you are:
- Laser treatments
- Oral antifungal medication, however there can be side effects
- Antifungal lacquer that you paint on the affected toenail every day
- Surgery if the infection has become severe and painful
Keeping your feet clean and dry, wearing shoes in public showers and pools and changing socks and shoes regularly can help keep a fungal infection at bay. If you notice an infection starting or have been struggling on your own without results, contact us today for help. Make an appointment to get your nails healthy again. Call (760) 568-0108 or request one directly from our homepage.