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Fungal Toenails, Yellowed or Deformed Toenails

Written By: Kirk A. Koepsel, D.P.M. Editor, PodiatryNetwork.com

Description

Toenail fungus also called Onychomycosis is a common toenail condition that affects millions of people in the US. According to the American Academy of Dermatology it affects about 12% of the population. The infection of the toenails is a slowly progressive process damaging the nail to a greater and greater degree over time. The fungus that infects the toenails is the same type of fungus that causes athletes foot. Generally it starts at the tip of the toenail and works its way back into the toenail and nail bed. The fungus lives in the bed of the toenail and feeds on the keratin in the toenail. In the early stages of the infection it is primarily a cosmetic problem or concern but as the infection progresses the toenails continue to discolor, thicken and become painful. A foul odor often accompanies the infection. Ingrown toenails are a frequent consequence of fungal toenails.

Fungal toenails are not just a problem for athletes. The infection is contagious and can be acquired in any number of locations such as areas around public swimming pools, gyms and community showers. Sweaty feet can contribute to the initial infective process and contribute to its spread. Dry scaling skin of the feet is often associated with the infection indicating a chronic athletes foot condition.

Treatment

Toenail fungus has been a problem for years and there are a number of "Home Remedies" that antidotal information suggests may be of some benefit. Use caution with these remedies. Most podiatrists have treated a least a handful of patients that have used home remedies that have lead to skin burns or irritation. We recommend that you seek professional treatment.

Toenail fungus is an infective process and fungal elements that shed from the toenails inhabit your socks, shoes, bed sheets and showers. Although not considered highly contagious certain precautions are recommended. Successful treatment with long-term results is best obtained by addressing your immediate exposure and environment. A common sense approach includes drying your feet thoroughly following bathing, change your socks daily and more frequently if you have a problem with sweaty feet. Use a disinfectant at least weekly in the bathing area. There is no need to discard your shoes. We recommend a topical antifungal shoe spray or powder or the use of a shoe-sterilizer Steri-Shoe. The Steri-shoe is effective in eliminating microorganisms that cause toenail fungus, athletes foot and foot odor.

Topical treatments are often preferred to oral medications particularly for patients who are taking medications to control cholesterol or medications that contain acetaminophen. There are several prescription topical antifungal medications but most have little impact on fungal toenails and are best utilized for the control of athletes foot and fungal infections of the skin. The challenge for topical medications in the treatment of fungal toenails is the ability to penetrate into the toenail. One such topical medication that has proven effective is Formula 3. This topical medication is effective and best of all it comes with a manufacture money back guarantee.

A recent treatment for nail fungus that has been approved by the FDA is the PinPointe Foot Laser system . The laser has the ability to penetrate the toenail and kill the fungus. PinPointe FootLaser provides new hope for patients who suffer from onychomycosis. In fact, clinical studies show that after a single treatment, more than 70% of patients treated experience sustained improvement. Although approved by the FDA insurance carriers do not cover this treatment. The cost of treatment costs between $700 and $1,200.

Because of the infective nature of this condition it is important to treat all elements that lead to infection. The most effective treatment for clearing toenail fungus and keeping it gone is a combination of the treatments described. Once the toenails have been cleared of the fungus it is important to be diligent to prevent re-infection. The use of antifungal sprays, powders and a shoe sterilizer are effective measures. Women who use nail polish should be aware of the damaging effects of most nail polish. There is nail polish available that is not damaging and may be a preventative measure to avoid fungal infection of the toenails.

Toenail fungal infection is a common foot disorder that affects nearly 12% of the US population according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It is an insidious infection that worsens with time and has in the past been very difficult to cure. New insight, products and innovations have demonstrated effectiveness in successfully treating this infection.

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