Effective Foot and Ankle Care in Manalapan, NJ
A Step Up Podiatry LLC
Specialists at A Step Up Podiatry!
Toenail Fungus: Growing Infections under Nails
Fungus is everywhere, in all sorts of shapes and forms. Some kinds of fungi are huge and grow in exotic places. Others are small and show up in your yard or compost pile. Still others are microscopic and can infect your feet and nails. Toenail fungus is an unfortunately common infection. Given enough time, it can seriously damage your nails and increase your risk for other foot problems.
Getting Fungus under Your Nails
The microscopic fungus that infects your feet thrives in warm, damp, and usually enclosed environments. This could be almost anywhere, but some of the highest risk places for people include pools, locker rooms, community showers, public restrooms, and saunas. Since it exists in the environment around you, your feet have a high chance of encountering it. The pathogen is fairly contagious and transfers on contact—so when you walk barefoot in a contaminated area, the infection can easily transfer to your feet.
Any cut in the skin or slight separation between your nail and its nail bed allows the pathogen to get underneath the hard keratin. Then, if your feet provide the right environment, the infection takes hold. The fungus grows and spreads, slowly breaking down your nail.
How Infections Change Nail Shape
As the infection progresses, you’ll notice changes in your toenails. They become discoloured and dull-looking. Often they thicken and change shape. They may feel brittle with crumbly or ragged edges. You might notice an increase in foot odor as well. As the nail breaks down, it may separate from the nail bed. The more the shape distorts, the more likely it will become ingrown, too.
Toenail Fungus Treatment
Fungal nails are challenging to eliminate, especially if you don’t treat it quickly. The condition only gets worse without targeted care. Foot specialist Sanjay Gandhi, DPM will examine your nails to rule out other possible conditions. Our staff may perform several tests to check for the fungus. Then we’ll help you determine your best treatment options.
There are a few different ways to treat toenail fungus. Topical medications can be applied daily to the surface of your feet and nails. This could be an ointment, cream, spray, or nail lacquer. The downside, however, is that most topical medicines don’t penetrate the hard keratin, so they aren’t able to reach the source of the infection easily. Oral anti-fungal medications travel through your bloodstream directly to the infected area. There it attacks the fungus and eliminates it. Given enough time, this can be very effective. There can be, however, unpleasant side effects for some people.
For serious infections, you may benefit from having the damaged keratin removed so the infection underneath can be treated. This is a minor procedure that cuts away the keratin and exposes the nail bed so it can be cleaned of fungus. Nail lasers are the new treatment method, using highly focused beams of light to clear up nails. The light passes through the hard keratin and vaporizes the fungus underneath without harming healthy tissue.
Toenail fungus is a challenging infection, but it can be eliminated with the right care. The sooner you identify and treat the problem, the easier this is to recover—so don’t wait if you’re suspicious of those changes in your nails. Sanjay Gandhi, DPM, and our staff here at A Step Up Podiatry, LLC in Manalapan Township, NJ, are more than happy to help you take care of your toes. Use our website to make an appointment with us, or call us directly at (732) 446-7136.
Address: 215 Gordons Corner Rd Suite 2A, Manalapan, NJ 07726-3351
Phone: (732) 446-7136
Monday 9:00 AM To 5:00 PM
Wednesday 9:00 AM To 5:00 PM
Thursday 9:00 AM To 5:00 PM
Friday 9:00 AM To 5:00 PM
Tuesday 10:00 AM TO 6:00 PM
Every Other Saturday 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM