Nothing dampens a great summer like a nasty toenail fungus. The infection may start out as a slight discoloration on your toenail, but before you know it, you have a full-blown problem, turning your summer vacation into an unpleasant experience.
But not to worry. At Optima Foot and Ankle in Bend, Oregon, we understand the importance of maintaining not just the health but the aesthetic appeal of your feet, especially during the sunny season.
Our expert podiatrists are widely recognized for their expertise in handling various foot and ankle conditions, including toenail fungus.
Here we explain how to recognize toenail fungus and what to do about it.
What's toenail fungus?
Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a common condition caused by various fungal organisms. The most common type, dermatophyte fungus, often develops in warm, damp environments. This makes your feet, snuggled in your shoes, the perfect breeding ground.
The signs of a fungal infection may start subtly, with a small spot of discoloration on your toenail. With time, your nail may thicken, crumble at the edges, or even detach from the nail bed. While typically not painful initially, toenail fungus can lead to discomfort and more severe problems if left untreated.
Preventing toenail fungus
Toenail fungus thrives in damp, warm conditions, so maintain proper foot hygiene to prevent the infection from occurring.
For starters, dry your feet thoroughly when you get out of the shower or pool. Change your socks regularly and wear breathable footwear.
When in public areas like by the pool or at the gym, avoid walking barefoot, as this can significantly increase your risk of picking up toenail fungus.
Treating toenail fungus
At Optima Foot and Ankle, we've seen it all and have developed a comprehensive range of treatments to handle any stage of toenail fungus. In mild cases, over-the-counter topical creams may be sufficient to treat your infection.
More severe infections may require both topical and oral prescription medications. Topical medications, applied directly to the infected nail and surrounding area, work by destroying the fungus on the skin and nail surface.
Meanwhile, oral antifungal medications work from within, traveling through your bloodstream to stop the infection.
We may recommend laser treatments or surgery to remove the affected nail in more severe or resistant cases. After these procedures, we typically recommend applying a topical antifungal to prevent reinfection and support healthy nail growth.
At Optima Foot and Ankle, we understand that every foot, like every person, is unique. Our approach to treating toenail fungus is no different. After conducting a thorough examination, we create a tailored treatment plan to combat your particular infection while considering your overall health and lifestyle.
Picking up a toenail fungus infection isn't on anyone's summer to-do list. The good news is that you can prevent it, and if you do get toenail fungus, we have effective treatment options. Request an appointment with us through our online portal or call 541-383-3668 today.