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Fungal Toenail Infection

Why Are My Toenails Yellow?

A fungal toenail infection, is a common medical health condition affecting the toenail. Fungal toenail problems are caused by fungus spreading under the nail and into the nail bed. Toenail infections are also known to have stemmed from other nearby skin infections too. Left untreated, toenail fungus can lead to a toenail infection, which may lead to a number of side effects. These side effects include nail discolouration and the toenail may thicken. In some instances the toenail may separate from the nail bed. Fungal toenail infections are often treated for cosmetic reasons, however they can also be quite painful at times.

Symptoms

A fungal toenail infection can cause a variety of changes to the affected nail. These changes include;

  • Nail discolouration;
  • Nail thickness;
  • Nail roughness;
  • Brittle nail edges;
  • Separation of the nail from the nailbed; and
  • Pain and tenderness around the nail.

Risk Factors

There are several factors that increase the risk of developing a fungal nail infection, including;

  • Diabetes;
  • Blood circulation problems;
  • Weak immune system;
  • Aged 60 years and over;
  • Poor footwear with limited ventilation;
  • Working in moist or humid environments; and
  • Excessively sweating.

Treating A Toenail Infection

There are a number of treatments available for an infected toenail. These treatments include;

  • Topical antifungal treatments
  • Laser Treatment
  • Oral Antifungal Medicines
  • Nail Removal

A podiatrist can assist with diagnosing and managing the various treatments of your toenail infection and can also obtain a sample of your nail to send for pathology if required. These pathology results will determine whether the condition is fungal or not and assist with identifying the most appropriate course of action to treat the condition.

Preventing Toenail Infections

Fungus that affects the toenail prospers in dark, humid environments, such as the inside of a shoe. Fungal toenail infections are also commonly picked up by walking in public wet areas including pools, showers and changing rooms. Basically, any public area that is warm and moist is the ideal environment for fungus to spread from person to person. We recommend avoiding walking barefoot in these areas. Nail salons which don’t practice good hygiene and sterilisation are also a common source of fungal nail infections. Frequent use of nail polish can also be a factor in developing a fungal nail infection. For people who experience sweaty feet regularly, it’s important to wear clean, dry socks that effectively absorb moisture. Also look to change your socks if the are damp from sweat.

For further information on fungal toenails and how to best treat this condition, book an appointment with one of our podiatrists or call 03 9939 1012.