April 14, 2024

Exploring Fungal Nail Infection And Its Treatment Options 

Fungal infection is a common skin condition that usually affects your toenails and fingernails. This is caused by microorganisms, that is fungi. Several causes may result in fungal nail infection, and based on the causes, there is a cascade of treatments offered.

The podiatrist or the foot doctor in Maryville, IL offers a comprehensive approach to treating fungal nail infections. Read to learn more about it. 

What is fungal nail infection?

Fungal nail infection is a common contagious condition caused by fungi living in the environment. Fungal infections can affect any part of your body, and the infection affecting your toenails and fingernails is termed as “Onychomycosis” or “ Tinea Unguium”.

Fungal nail infection often occurs due to an overgrowth of the fungi in, under, or on the nail. 

Risk factors for fungal nail infection

You are more likely to get fungal nail infection if you:

  • Are a male
  • Are older, above 50 years
  • Have a compromised immune system
  • Wear tight-fitting shoes most of the time 
  • Walk barefoot in areas like gum, or swimming pool
  • Are you exposed to someone with a fungal infection

What are the symptoms of fungal nail infection?

Symptoms usually start mild and get more serious over time. These include:

  • First, you see a yellow or white spot under your affected nail.
  • The nail may thicken and become hard to trim
  • It may curl up or down and begin loosening from the nail bed
  • The nail may become brittle and crumble when touched
  • The nail may become misshapen 
  • There may be a foul smell as the infection progresses 
  • As you put pressure the nail may begin to hurt and cause pain
  • Keep your hands and legs wet for a long time
  • Recently had surgery or an injury on your nail

How is fungal nail infection treated?

Your doctor may treat a fungal infection through the following options:

  • Oral antifungals
    • These medicines when taken systemically kill the fungus in your whole body. 
    • Treatment may last up to 2 months for infection of your fingernail, and 3 months for infection of the toenails.

  • Topical antifungals
    • These medicines are available in the form of ointments and powders that are directly applied to your affected nail. 

  • Surgery
    • In severe forms of fungal nail infection when other methods fail, you may have to get your entire nail removed surgically and let a healthy one grow back again.

  • Laser therapy 
    • This is an advanced method of treating fungal nail infection which is under research.
    • Doctors may use a beam of lasers and target them on the nail to heat the infected nail and tissue and remove it. 

If you notice any nail change, consult your podiatrist or foot doctor right away.