Toenail fungus—also known as onychomycosis—is an infection that can sometimes fourish underneath the surface of the nail, caused by the presence of unhealthy fungi.
What Is Toenail Fungus?
When these tiny fungal organisms manage to take hold and begin growing underneath one of your toenails, the nail often becomes darker in color and starts to smell foul. Eventually, other complications can arise: Debris may also collect beneath the nail plate (further complicating the issue); white marks may begin to appear on the nail plate; and the infection can become capable of spreading to other toenails, the skin, or even the fingernails.
Addressing the Problem Early
If ignored and allowed to spread, the infection can potentially impair your ability to work or even walk. Your nails can ultimately grow thicker as a result of the infection, making them increasingly difficult to trim and making walking painful when wearing shoes.
Onychomycosis can also be accompanied by a secondary bacterial or yeast infection in or about the nail plate. We always recommend addressing toenail fungus as early as possible. Just like many of the issues we address here at Synergy Foot and Ankle, toenail fungus only gets worse if it’s allowed to flourish and thrive.
If you suspect you may be dealing with this issue, reach out to us and set up your appointment sooner, rather than later!
Where Can I Contract Toenail Fungus?
Because it is difficult to avoid contact with microscopic organisms like fungi, your toenails are especially vulnerable around damp areas where you are more likely to be walking barefoot, such as swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers, for example. Not only are these areas warm and moist, which makes them a great environment for this type of fungus to grow, but they also tend to be shared by large amounts of people.
Am I at Risk?
Injury to the nail bed may make it more susceptible to all types of infection, including fungal infection and it’s recommended that you take extra caution if this is the case. Those who suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immune-deficiency conditions, are especially prone to fungal nails. Other contributing factors may be a history of athlete’s foot and excessive perspiration. Your lifestyle and footwear choices go a long way towards mitigating your risk for issues like toenail fungus, and our team can help you find the relief you’re looking for by guiding you to smarter footwear options and care routines.
A daily routine of cleansing over a period of many months may temporarily suppress mild infections. White markings that appear on the surface of the nail can be filed off, followed by the application of an over-the-counter liquid antifungal agent. However, even the best over-the-counter treatments may not prevent a fungal infection from developing, and it’s recommended that you come and see a professional if the problem persists.
Treating the Issue with Lunula Laser®
Treatments may vary, depending on the nature and severity of the infection. The talented foot and ankle team here at Synergy can detect a fungal infection early, culture the nail, determine the cause, and form a suitable treatment plan, which may include prescribing topical or oral medication, and debridement (removal of diseased nail matter and debris) of an infected nail.
One of the most effective methods by which we can address your toenail fungus is the Lunula Laser® system by Erchonia. The Lunula Laser® uses low-level laser light to effectively destroy the fungus that lives in and under the toenail. The laser light passes through the nail to treat the fungus, but it doesn’t cause damage to the nail or the surrounding skin.
This short, revolutionary procedure poses none of the risk and harmful side effects that oral and anti-fungal medications have, and includes no pain or discomfort. Only four twelve-minute sessions are required to achieve ideal results.
After your sessions, you'll be able to enjoy healthy, clear toenails once more!