According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 14% of the population are affected by fungal nail infections (onychomycosis). A toenail fungus is an infection that can cause your toenails to change color, get thicker, and sometimes hurt. This infection enters through cuts in your skin or cracks in your nail, and fungus can grow on your toes because they are often damp and warm. If you don’t treat a toenail fungus, it can spread to other areas of skin and other toenails. Even after treatment, the fungus can sometimes return. That’s why you should talk to an experienced Magic Valley podiatrist to help you avoid these fungal infections and live your best life, starting with healthy, great-looking toenails.
Understanding Fungal Toenails
Not only can fungal toenails be uncomfortable, they can also be embarrassing. You may feel self-conscious wearing open-toed shoes or walking barefoot, and you may be worried about having a fungal infection in your body. Most fungal toenail infections will not go away without medical treatment. The toenail acts as a barrier to home treatments that make it challenging to cure toenail fungus without the help of an experienced podiatrist.
Symptoms of a Fungal Toenail
- A thickening of the toenail
- Discoloration of the toenail, which may appear yellow, brown, or white
- Change in the appearance of the toenail, which may crumble, warp, or have ridges
Tips for Avoiding Toenail Fungal Infections
While it’s important to see a podiatrist if you have a fungal infection, good hygiene can help prevent a toenail fungus, and there are specific ways you can help avoid getting this annoying foot condition.
Know if You’re at Risk
Anyone can develop a fungal toenail infection. However, you may be at greater risk of suffering this type of infection if you’re older. Seniors are more likely to have a fungal toenail infection because they often have reduced blood circulation and slower-growing nails. Additionally, men are more likely to develop a nail fungus, as well as those with diabetes.
Develop Good Hygiene Habits
Foot hygiene is a critical step in preventing fungal infections. Be sure to wash your feet with soap and water every day and dry them thoroughly. Keep your toenails trimmed short, and take a break from nail polish occasionally, so your nails can air out.
Wear the Right Socks and Shoes
The right shoes and socks can help keep your feet safe from fungal infections. You should pick shoes made from leather, canvas, or other breathable materials. Synthetic materials can trap moisture near your feet and cause fungal growth. Socks made from natural fibers, such as wool or cotton, prevent moisture buildup better than synthetic materials like nylon or polyester. You should also rotate your shoes to give them time to dry out. Additionally, don’t go barefoot in locker rooms, near pools, and other common areas where infections can spread.
How an Idaho Podiatrist Can Help Your Fungal Toenail
If you experience any fungal toenail symptoms, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with us. We can help you by diagnosing your toenail problem and offering a treatment plan. We often treat fungal toenails with oral antifungal medications that our patients take for 6-12 weeks. Oral antifungal medication often works better than topical medications because it doesn’t have to go through the nail barrier.
Providing the Highest Standard of Podiatric Care for Magic Valley Families
If you're dealing with a foot, ankle, or toenail issue that affects your ability to work and makes it difficult to do what you love, Canyon Foot + Ankle is your first choice for skilled, experienced podiatric care. Our knowledgeable and well-trained podiatrist, Dr. Cory Pilling, understands that a podiatric problem can disrupt your life and limit your mobility. They use the latest research and cutting-edge technology to give you the necessary treatment and therapy for your individual condition to get you back on your feet.
Whether you’re suffering from an athletic injury, dealing with a diabetic foot wound, or worried about a condition that hasn’t resolved with conservative measures, come to Canyon Foot + Ankle. We have everything you need at two convenient locations. Complete our contact form, or call our Twin Falls office at 208-733-0436 or our Burley location at 208-678-2727 to schedule an appointment to discuss your podiatric issue and treatment options.