Fungal toenails can affect anyone and are a rather common problem faced by many due to the warm, moist conditions of the foot. Most cases of toenail fungus begin as a skin infection commonly known as “athlete’s foot” and originate underneath the nail at its end. Without treatment, this fungus will continue to grow underneath the nail, causing it to turn yellow or brown, and become thick and possibly deformed. In some cases, where only the surface layer of the nail is affected, the nail may become white instead.
Did You Know?
Fungal toenails can be prevented by trimming your nails straight across, wearing sweat-absorbing socks and breathable shoes, wearing shoes in pool areas and locker rooms, and by washing your hands and feet regularly.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I have fungal toenails?
You may have fungal toenails if your toenails are thickened, deformed, crumble easily, or are white, yellow, or brown in color. Additionally, if you are older, you are at an increased risk for developing fungal toenails.
How are fungal toenails diagnosed?
Prior to making a diagnosis, Dr. Alan Robbins will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. Next, he will perform a physical exam of your foot and nails. In some cases, he may take a sample of a nail scraping or clipping to send to a lab and identify the specific type of fungus.
How are fungal toenails treated?
Your individual treatment plan will depend upon the type and extent of your toenail fungus. For most cases, treatment generally begins with taking oral antifungal drugs for approximately 6-12 weeks. A medicated nail polish or nail cream may also be recommended. In some cases, toenail fungus may not respond to medications and the nail may need to be surgically removed.
Dr. Alan Robbins also offers laser toenail treatment to remove nail fungus. Lasers work well on toenail fungus because they can target and remove the nail fungus without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue. Lasers can also be used to burn holes in the nail so that topical antifungal drugs can be placed more effectively.