Did you know that over 3 million Americans are diagnosed with toenail fungus every year? It’s a common condition that may go unnoticed until it starts to cause pain. Toenail fungus can be identified by a discoloration and thickening of the toenail, which may also become brittle. While toenail fungus is a cosmetic problem and does not present a danger to the patients health it is an often unwelcome infection that if untreated can be a lifelong issue.
Toenail fungus, clinically referred to as onychomycosis is an infection of the nail bed. It is commonly transmitted in wet common areas, such as pools, showers, and gym locker rooms. The big toe is usually the first toe affected, but fungus can easily spread to other toes. This is because our shoes create and ideal environment for fungal growth. They are a warm, moist, and dark place that fungus thrives in.
Often patients with toenail fungus will contact their podiatrist for treatment in the summer months, when it is common to have exposed nails while wearing sandals. Unfortunately the nature of toenail fungus means that treatment can take several months, so it is best to visit your podiatrist to treat toenail fungus in winter months, so the infection will be cleared up in time for beach weather. Your podiatrist can recommend several different effective treatments for toenail fungus, including oral prescriptions, medicated creams, and even laser therapy. These methods focus on destroying the fungus and letting new healthy nail grow to replace the fungal nail. Toenail growth is slower than fingernail growth, so treatment can last months before seeing a complete destruction of fungus.
So if you have toenail fungus then now is the time of year to visit your podiatrist and start treatment so by the time sandal season comes around you’ll have nothing but beautiful toes to show off at the beach or summertime picnic in the park!