Although many people have this type of infection and are unaware of it until it becomes a potentially severe problem, fungal toenail infections are extremely common and often go untreated for months or years, especially in men. In the beginning stages of the disease, there usually isn’t any pain, but as the fungi spread they cause the nail to become a yellowish-brown color, often accompanied by a foul smelling odor. Pain and discomfort can later become quite severe, especially when walking or exercising.
Those individuals with chronic diseases like diabetes, peripheral artery disease, or autoimmune difficulties, are much more susceptible to contracting fungal nail infections.
Preventing fungal toenail infections
Some excellent and easy ways for avoiding fungal nail infections in the first place include the following:
- Switch your shoes—Wearing the same shoes every day can allow the fungi to continue growing. Allow your shoes to dry out between wearings to help kill the fungi.
- Antifungal medicine—Apply to your feet and footwear to kill the fungi.
- Wash and dry daily—Keep your feet clean and dry using talcum powder and breathable footwear and socks to help stop fungal growth.
- Proper nail cutting—Always trim your nails straight across to avoid causing ingrown toenails, since any cuts can allow the fungi to enter under the nail.
- Protect your feet—Whenever you are using public places like gyms, locker rooms, showers and pool areas, wear shower shoes or flip flops to protect your feet from fungi and other microorganisms.
Since fungal nail infections can be very difficult to treat on your own, talk to your podiatrist about advanced therapies including oral antifungal medications, laser nail therapy, or complete nail removal. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX, is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.