Have you eschewed exposing your toes because of unsightly toenail fungus? This strategy doesn’t work as well in the summer, when you want to show your tootsies off in sandals. And with Florida’s year-round warmer climate, you could really wear toe-bearing styles during every season.
Toenail fungus is a common problem — 10% of adults are affected with it — and fungus strikes a surprising half of those over age 70.
Fortunately, the expert podiatrists at South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers have innovative treatments to eliminate your pesky fungus, and they advise you about preventive strategies you can take going forward.
Your podiatrist is your partner in foot care, no matter what service you seek here at South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers.
The facts about fungus
Toenail fungus, formally known as onychomycosis, often originates when fungus finds its way to the area between your toenail and your toenail bed, which is the skin directly under your nail. This opening usually starts with some sort of skin tear or cut on your toe.
A dermatophyte is a particular type of mold that infects nails and feeds on the protein keratin, the hard substance that makes up your nails. Dermatophytes are actually responsible for 90% of toenail fungus.
In addition to older individuals, others who are more likely to be affected by toenail fungus include:
- Those living with diabetes
- People affected with athlete’s foot
- Individuals who have peripheral artery disease (PAD), which also affects diabetics
- Those who have psoriasis
- Anyone who has an autoimmune disease, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and HIV
The symptoms of toenail fungus are hard to miss, and include nails that become brittle, crumbly, and discolored. Nails can turn yellow, white, or brown. With severe nail thickening, your toenail can even separate from your nail bed or become misshapen.
You might also notice a bad smell. In severe cases of toenail fungus, infection can happen and fungus can cause pain.
Another minus about toenail fungus is how easily it spreads. You can pick it up by direct contact with someone who has it or by touching an infected surface — this is why it’s always a good idea to wear flip-flops around locker rooms and areas around swimming pools.
Unfortunately, toenail fungus can spread to your skin on other areas of your body like your scalp and give you athlete’s foot or jock itch if you’re a man. If you get it on one toe, it can spread to others, too.
Once fungus starts, it’s hard to stop, and home treatments typically aren’t successful.
How can my podiatrist help me with my toenail fungus?
We know all too well that toenail fungus makes you self-conscious and averse to exposing your toes. And products like creams and even oral medication may seem to work initially, but are often ultimately unsuccessful in truly eradicating it.
The stubbornness of the fungus is what frustrates so many patients and podiatrists alike. However, your South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers podiatrist has access to the most effective and advanced toenail fungus treatments.
We use a sophisticated laser treatment to literally zap your fungus-infected toenails. It’s effective because the laser reaches deep under your nail where the offending fungus thrives, and irradiates it.
If you don’t hit it at its root, long-term life without fungus is unlikely. This is why oral and topical treatments are often unsuccessful, and even if they do work temporarily, it takes ages for any change to show in your nails. You start to see results in about three months.
Laser treatment is safe, FDA-approved, painless, and requires zero post-treatment downtime.
We also offer an antifungal clear nail polish that is excellent for treating fungal nails in conjunction with your laser treatment.
Your podiatrist also highlights the importance of staying mindful and wearing shoes of some sort when you’re in a communal area.
It’s also a good idea to be careful when you trim your nails so you don’t nick or cut your toe, and trim them straight across. Don’t cut them too short, either. Keeping your feet clean and dry is important too, as is wearing shoes that fit properly and aren’t too tight.
Get regular foot care
If you’re diabetic, see your podiatrist regularly for professional foot care and follow their advice for home care.
Once your toenail fungus has cleared, you don’t have to conceal your toes anymore. You can proudly throw on your sandals and seize the day!
Call the South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers location most convenient to you and schedule a consultation if you’re ready to get rid of fungus. We have offices in Royal Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, and Belle Glade, Florida. You can also use our convenient online booking tool.
We offer early morning and late evening appointments on weekdays, and we’re open Saturdays.