If your toenails appear thicker than usual, seem a bit brittle, and are starting to become discolored, chances are you have a fungal infection. Even if you don’t have any other symptoms, early diagnosis and treatment are important to ensuring the fungus won’t progress or spread to other parts of your body -- or to other people. If you think you might have a toenail fungus, the providers at Easton Dermatology Associates can help. From diagnosis to treatment and prevention, they help patients on the Delmarva Peninsula maintain healthy feet.
A toenail fungal infection usually starts with a white or yellow dot under the tip of your toenail. As the fungus spreads deeper into your nail, it can cause it to thicken, become discolored, or crumble at the edge. If you have a toenail fungal infection, you may have nails that:
Although toenail fungal infections are usually painless in the beginning, they can become painful if left untreated. Toenail fungus that progresses too far may make it difficult to wear shoes without discomfort.
Nail fungal infections are easy to catch and are therefore relatively common. The fungi that cause them are microscopic organisms that thrive in warm, moist environments and don’t need light to survive. They’re so small that they can invade your skin through cuts that you can’t even see, or an otherwise insignificant separation between your nail and your toe.
There are several factors that can increase your risk of getting a toenail fungus, the first of which is age. It’s far more likely to affect older adults. Other risk factors include:
Several chronic health problems can also make you prone to a toenail fungal infection. People with chronic, untreated athlete’s foot are more likely to develop toenail fungus, as are people who have had a nail injury or infection. Psoriasis, diabetes, and poor circulation are also major risk factors.
The sooner you have a toenail fungus diagnosed, the better, because it’s much easier to treat an infection that hasn’t progressed very far or spread to other nails yet. Medicines used to treat these infections include prescription oral antifungal medications, which help a new, fungus-free nail grow and slowly replace the infected nail. Oral antifungal drugs are typically taken over the course of six to 12 weeks, which means it can take as long as four months to eliminate the infection. Antifungal nail polish and medicated nail creams are other treatment options.
At Easton Dermatology Associates, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a list of some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.