A common, yet often untreated foot condition are fungal toenails. Fungal nail infections (also known as onychomycosis) are often painless and can go unrecognized for a long time. The biggest symptom of a fungal toenail is a change in the nail’s color to a yellowish-brown or dark color. If you have a fungal toenail infection, you may also notice your nail getting thick and brittle and even crumbling around the edges.
Who is Prone to Toenail Infections?
A group of fungi known as dermophytes, which devour keratin, the protein in nails, are the cause of fungal toenails. People who suffer chronic disease, especially those that compromise the immune or circulatory systems, such as diabetes, have an increased likelihood of getting a fungal infection. Any injury to the nail bed can also be an entry point for the fungi. People who perspire excessively or have chronic Athlete’s Foot are also at a higher risk for fungal toenail infections.
Many people put off medical treatment for fungal toenails because they are not causing any pain or discomfort. Left untreated, however, fungal toenails can lead to complications. A secondary bacterial or yeast infection often accompanies a fungal infection, which can cause debris to collect under the nail plate and pain when running or walking if it progresses too far.
At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, we believe in being proactive in your foot care. If you notice symptoms of a fungal toenail infection, don’t wait until it’s painful. Contact our Reading office for an appointment with one of our podiatrists, Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond. We offer a new laser procedure that clears nail infections quickly and comfortably. Other treatment options include: topical and oral medications, debridement, and, in severe cases, partial nail removal.
If you have a fungal toenail, make an appointment by calling: (781) 944-4044 and stop fungal nails before they become a serious medical issue.