Fungal Toenails

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Fungal Nail Infections: their Causes and Treatment

Whether it is from visiting public pools or beach changing rooms in summer, or from gym showers and saunas in winter, your feet can be exposed to microorganisms called dermatophytes—a type of fungus that is found all over in our environment. Fungi prefer warm moist surroundings and can cause lots of trouble, including onychomycosis—a fungal infection in your toes. Fungal toenails and athlete’s foot happen because your feet are the most likely part of your body to contact the microorganisms, and because they spend long hours in the dark, damp environment of your sweaty shoes. Fortunately, we offer highly effective protocols for treating fungal nails.

The Insidious Invaders

The fungi can sneak into the smallest opening in your skin or nails. Once inside, they begins to feed on the tissue, causing changes in your nail. You may first notice just a small spot, but gradually as more and more keratin and soft tissue are degraded, your toenail starts to turn yellow, dull, and thick. It can also become brittle and crumbly, and in severe cases, the nail may even loosen and fall off.

The infection is contagious, too. You could have an athlete’s foot rash before or after the nails are affected, and it can spread from nail to nail, as well. You can spread it through contact with your fingers, towels, bed linens, tubs and showers, even the floor surfaces in your house. That’s why treating toenail fungus is important—you don’t want to give it to your nearest and dearest.

The Most Common Victims

For some reason, men seem to get fungal toenails more often than women, especially if there is a family history of it. Older people are more at risk, too, because of longer exposure to fungi in the environment, but also because circulation decreases as you age and your extremities may not be able to fight off infection as well.

If you have athlete’s foot or other skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema—or a disease like diabetes or peripheral artery disease that affects your circulation—you are more vulnerable to the infection. You can also get it from a family member or roommate, and—as mentioned above—from public areas where people go barefoot. Not trimming your nails properly, keeping your feet in socks and shoes that don’t breathe, or sweating profusely all contribute to the problem, too. As you can see, there are many ways you could come down with this fungal infection.

Fungal Nail Infections: their Causes and Treatment

BEFORE AND AFTER FUNGAL TOENAIL

This 29 years old mother have been affected with a sore, on and off, ingrown toenail on her left big toe for years.

BEFORE


Because her calloused nailfolds were pushing up against both nail sides, the nail got finally detached from the toe. This broke away the natural barrier at the distal end of the nail. Then the fungal micro-organisms got right into the open spaces under each side of her discolored and yellowish nail.


AFTER


Here is the final picture showing how the appearance of her foot, toe and nail had been nicely preserved. At Ottawa Foot Clinic, we take pride in providing you such good looking and fungus-free end-results!

Speaking from Experience

Our team has developed a protocol for treating fungal nails based on our own encounter with this stubborn condition. After trying common products and prescription medications from pharmacies and laser therapy, we now recommend the following four steps to get rid of nail fungus for good:

  • Use antifungal spray or UV light treatment on your shoes every day.
  • Use an antifungal cream on the affected toes and nails every day.
  • Come in once a month for a laser treatment on your nails.
  • Follow that with an antifungal nail sealant once a month.

Two wavelengths of laser therapy have been clinically proven to be most effective on fungal nails, and we use both at the same time in your monthly treatment.

If you are ready to deal with your damaged, unsightly, fungal toenails, contact Ottawa Foot Practice in Ottawa, Ontario, by calling (613) 595-9700, or by scheduling an appointment through our website.