Fungal nail, or onychomycosis, is a common condition that can be more difficult to treat than other foot fungi. The fungal infection can develop underneath the nail surface and may be accompanied by bacterial or yeast infections as well. Toenail fungus loves warm, wet environments, such as showers, pools, and locker rooms, places you may be frequenting in summer months. At Edmond/Norman Foot & Ankle Clinic, we see many patients that are unaware they have a fungal toenail infection. Symptoms include discolored, thickened, brittle nails that may crumble as the infection progresses. You may also notice white spots on the surface of your nail. Although not usually painful, fungal nail infections require treatment, which usually consists of anti-fungal medication. Laser treatments are also an option. Left untreated, toenail fungus can spread to other nails and even to the skin. This increased risk of infection is even more of a concern if you have diabetes or other diseases that compromise the immune or circulatory systems.
The best treatment of toenail fungus is prevention. Here are some suggestions to help keep your toenails fungus free:
- Wash feet daily and dry thoroughly, paying particular attention to dry between the toes
- Do not walk barefoot in public areas such as showers, pools, and locker rooms; instead, wear plastic flip-flops or shower shoes
- Wear footwear made of breathable materials that allow air to circulate around the feet. Avoid constricting footwear, stockings, and socks can trap moisture and perspiration on the feet
- Always make sure socks are clean and dry and never share socks or footwear with anyone
- Use powder to keep the feet dry, especially if your feet are prone to sweating
- Sanitize nail clippers, nail files, and pedicure instruments; never share them with others
- If you have pedicures done at a salon, check to be sure that they sanitize foot baths after every customer
If you see signs of a fungal infection on one of your toenails, make an appointment to see our board certified podiatrist, Dr. A. Bil Buksh at either our Edmond or Norman office. You can request an appointment online or call us at (405) 285-7408.