Apart from being unsightly, toenail infections can be painful conditions.
Characterized by nails that have thickened, become brittle or crumbly, or become distorted and dull, toenail infections can be caused by dermatophytes. In some instances, the problems may be caused by yeasts or molds. Other symptoms of the problem include foul odor, separation of the infected nail from the nail bed, and pain in the affected toe.
2 Main Reason Toenails Are Affected
Although the problem may affect fingernails, the condition typically affects the toenails for two main reasons. First, the feet are the perfect habitat for growth because they are often warm, moist and dark (inside shoes). Second, decreased circulation in the lower extremities makes it difficult for the immune system to detect the infection.
You can be particularly vulnerable to this problem, if you:
- Are Elderly
- Perspire heavily
- Work in damp and humid environments
- Suffer from psoriasis
- Wear footwear that inhibit ventilation
- Walk in damp public areas
- Have athlete’s foot
- Have skin or nail injuries
- Are diabetic
- Have a weak immune system
At the first sign of a toenail infection, it is imperative to immediately consult a podiatrist (foot doctor). Left alone, the condition can worsen and lead to permanent damage to the affected nails. Diabetics, in particular, are susceptible to cellulitis if their toenail infection is left unchecked and untreated.
Toenail infections can be difficult to treat and have a high chance of recurring. There are several treatments available, including laser treatment for toenails. Here’s a brief glimpse of each.
In toenail laser treatment, lasers are used to destroy the infection through heat. This type of treatment is heavily favored by specialists since its use has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2010 due to its high effectiveness (a success rate between 85 and 90 percent), no down time in activity, and zero side effects.
Topical medications, on the other hand, have a success rate of 10 percent and are typically recommended for pain management and to control the infection, allowing the doctor to easily cut the infected nail.
Lamisil has a success rate between 50 and 70 percent but is not recommended for all patients. For one, Lamisil can lead to liver problems. The medicine also cannot be taken with other medications.
Nail debridement or the reduction in the thickness and length of the infected nail may be recommended for patients who are experiencing severe pain.
In the event that the condition has been successfully cured, either through laser or the use of Lamisil, patients may have to also use creams for an indefinite period of time to prevent recurrence.
Do You Have A Nail Infection?
Are you embarrassed to wear open toed shoes? Do you hate going bare foot at the beach? Don’t want to risk transferring it to your loved one?
If you are suffering from a toenail infection, contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss the best form of treatment(s).
Call today 301-937-5666 or fill out the form on the top right of this page.