Symptoms and Diagnosis of Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus, known as onychomycosis, is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when a living fungus infiltrates the nail and feeds on its keratin. This leads to noticeable changes in the nail's appearance. The primary culprits behind fungal toenail infections are dermatophytes, although yeasts and molds can also be responsible. These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, making communal showers, public changing rooms, and shared footwear common sources of infection. Superficial infections may appear as slight streaks or spots and are relatively simple to treat. But as the infection progresses, burrowing deeper into the nail, traditional creams and lacquers struggle to reach all the affected areas. Deep-acting treatments, such as antifungal laser therapy, are often necessary to clear these stubborn infections. Risk factors for developing toenail fungus include trauma to the nail, poor hygiene, excessive sweating, and working in wet environments. An accurate diagnosis is important, as several nail disorders can mimic fungal infections. A chiropodist can diagnose fungal infections through a physical examination and, if necessary, by sending a nail sample to a lab for confirmation. If you believe you may have a fungal toenail infection, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a chiropodist. 

Toenail fungus can be uncomfortable and unsightly. If you have diabetes or a compromised immune system, it may also be dangerous. To learn more about treatment options, please consult with one of the specialists from Thornhill Foot Clinic. Our chiropodists will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment. 

What Does Toenail Fungus Look Like? 

A fungal infection of the toenail may cause the affected nail to become thickened, brittle, crumbly, and yellowish or brown in color. Sometimes the toenail may separate from the nail bed, become deformed, emit a foul odor, or cause pain or discomfort. 

What Causes Toenail Fungus? 

Toenail fungus is caused by a fungus that infects the nail bed. The fungus lives and thrives in warm and moist environments and is also contagious. Athlete’s foot, which is a fungal infection of the skin, may spread to the nails and cause toenail fungus. 

What Treatments Are Available? 

Potential treatments for toenail fungus may include oral antifungal medications, topical antifungal medications, such as medicated nail polishes that are applied directly to the affected nail, and laser therapy. Sometimes, a combination of treatments is prescribed. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Treating Toenail Fungus

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