What is Toe Nail Fungus Infection?
Here are some very simple ways to recognize a toenail fungus infection:
- A discoloration of the toenail, white to yellow
- The nail becomes thick and disfigured
- A stinging pain from under and around the nail
- Brown or black spots developing on the nail
- Parts of the nail crumble or flake off
- A foul odor coming from the nail
- Toenail falling off entirely
Onychomycosis is the medical term for toenail fungus. Many people suffer with toenail fungus. In fact almost 12% of the population may be infected at some point in their lives according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Washington Podiatrist Lee Firestone estimates that fifty percent of people over the age of 70 have the infection.
How Does a Nail Become Infected?
Toenails come into contact with microorganisms that get onto the skin, the nail sheath and underneath the nail to the nail bed. These places can easily become the perfect environment for infection. Once you have contracted a fungal infection, it can be very difficult to cure.
These microorganisms are fungal spores, and thrive in places that are dark and have high humidity. This makes the feet very susceptible to infection from wearing shoes. Especially because many people wear the same pair of shoes day in and day out, not allowing time for them to dry and air between wearings. Wearing sandals helps the feet to get air circulation and light.
Trimming your toenails too close to the skin can cause accidental cuts, providing another entry point for these fungal spores. Injuries such as dropping something on your toes can provide another point of fungal entry. All utensils used for pedicures should be disinfected in order to not spread the fungus. Wear flip flops when using a public shower at the gym to avoid infection.
Tight fitting shoes can also be a cause of toenail fungus infection since they leave no room for your feet to breathe and they can cause the breakdown of the nail from rubbing, leaving an opening for the fungus to invade.
What is the best treatment for toenail infection?
Laser treatment can be effective 70-84% of the time. The laser warms the nail and kills the pathogens that cause the fungus. Several treatments may be needed. The drug Lamisil has been used to treat the fungus, however, it has side effects causing possible liver problems in some individuals. Laser treatment along with a regular home foot care schedule is beneficial in the treatment of the fungus that causes Onychomycosis.
For further questions or a complementary consultation, please contact Paula Brady, Paramedical Aesthetician and Certified Laser Specialist at Spa Medica, LLC in Monument, CO 719-487-SKIN (7546).