Our toenails provide a bit of protection from the world around us. You can expect them to get a little beat up and bruised now and then, but toenail fungus is an entirely different story.
Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, can become a very unsightly condition if the fungus has had time to make a significant home within the nail. This also makes it more difficult to remove, but we are equipped to take the problem head on.
What causes a fungal toenail infection?
Toenail fungus can be caused by different types of organisms. The most common is known as a dermatophyte, but all of them can cause similar problems.
The nails and skin are natural defenders against fungal infections, but an invader can still get in at times via a cut, cracks, or other forms of damage in the area. The body’s immune system will then try to get rid of the fungus, but is sometimes unable to.
Symptoms of a fungal nail infection include:
- Increased nail thickness.
- Discoloration ranging from whitish to a sickly yellow or brown.
- A brittle, crumbly, or ragged texture to the nail.
- A distorted nail shape, or the nail lifting away from the nail bed.
- A slightly foul odor to the nail.
People are at increased risk for picking up toenail fungus due to either being in environments more acceptable to fungus or not being able to combat it as effectively.
Fungus lives best in warm, damp areas. If you walk barefoot through public locker rooms and around public pools, your risk of fungus increases. Same if your feet sweat a lot and are kept trapped in warm shoes or boots all day.
Having poor circulation can limit the body’s ability to fight off infection. Circulation can naturally decrease with age, or be the result of other conditions on the body.
What can be done about toenail fungus?
Just like certain roommates, the longer fungus stays, the tougher it usually is to get rid of.
Early detection provides the best chances for easiest treatment of the condition. Unfortunately, an early case of fungal infection doesn’t look that bad. It often takes the form of a small whitish spot or streaks in the nail—like what you might expect if you have lightly dinged your toenail somehow. The key is in keeping track of such markings when you see them. If they don’t fade after a few days, or start growing or changing shape, you know it’s time to give us a call.
In most situations, however, the fungus has had time to set up shop. It may take some time to fully clear up, but the task is not impossible.
Both topical and oral medications are available to eradicate toenail fungus. The type of treatment that will be best for you will determine on the type of fungus, the condition of your toenails, and your medical history.
Even after the fungus in a toenail is completely destroyed, the damage it caused will remain until the toenail is able to fully grow new tissue and push out the damage. This can take a number of months, so don’t expect to have perfect nails if you start treatment right before that vacation you have planned!
Nail Care in Eugene
No matter how long you have had fungal toenails, getting treatment now is better than later! Our office is equipped to start treating fungal nails and get your feet back on the path to normalcy.
Simply call (541) 683-3351 or use our online form to schedule an appointment. We’ll also be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Monday............ 8:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday............ 8:00am - 5:00pm
Wednesday............ 8:00am - 5:00pm
Thursday............ 8:00am - 5:00pm
Friday............ 8:00am - 4:00pm (Only available on phones)
Closed for lunch from 12pm - 1pm and closed until 1:30pm on Tuesdays