If You Have Fungal Toenails, a Wichita Podiatrist Can Help

Fungal nails or onychomycosis is an infection that develops underneath the toenail surface, often as a result of other infections. This condition lasts a long time and can be harder to treat than other foot fungi, such as athlete’s foot, as it’s often accompanied by bacterial and/or yeast infections that affect the nail plate. Left untreated, onychomycosis spreads quickly from one toe to the next, and may also affect fingernails and areas of the skin. 

Dr. Weaver and the Central Kansas Podiatry Associates team offer various solutions to treat fungal toenails and, over time, eliminate the infection. Here’s what you should know. 

Symptoms of Toenail Fungus

People are often unaware they have a fungal nail problem, but individuals with chronic diseases that impact the immune system—such as immune deficiencies, diabetes, and circulatory problems—are more susceptible to the condition.

Symptoms include: 

  • Brittle, thickened, mis-shapened, and discolored nails
  • White spots on the nail surface 
  • Nails lifting off the toe
  • Crumbly residue under the nail (keratin debris)
  • Unpleasant foot odor

How Central Kansas Podiatry Associates Treat Toenail Fungus

If onychomycosis isn’t too bad or isolated to just one toe, some people have success with over-the-counter treatments containing undecylenic acid, clotrimazole, or tea tree oil. However, it might take many months before you see results with these applications. 

If these products don’t work or chronic foot fungus is a problem, a podiatrist may recommend a topical or oral prescription treatment, a procedure known as debridement—which removes the infected nail matter—or in more severe cases, permanently remove the toenail.

Prevent Fungal Toenails 

The best course of action is to prevent foot fungal infections from happening in the first place. Try the following care tips:

  • Wash and dry feet thoroughly, taking extra care to dry between the toes.
  • Use powder to keep your feet dry.
  • Keep socks and footwear clean and dry—socks can be changed several times daily.
  • Wear footwear made of breathable materials that allow air to circulate around the feet. Constricting footwear, stockings, and socks can trap moisture and perspiration on the feet.
  • Never share socks or footwear.
  • Don’t walk barefoot in public areas such as showers, pools, and locker rooms. Instead, wear plastic flip-flops, slides, or shower shoes.
  • Sanitize nail clippers, nail files, and pedicure instruments—never share them with others.
  • Avoid injuring the toenails and nail beds, which can eventually develop into an infection.
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