What Causes Toenail Fungus?

The visible effects of nail fungus can be dramatic. Nail fungus can cause discoloration, and misshapen your toenails, causing them to thicken and crumble. While there’s no mistaking that there’s something wrong with your toes, the fungal infection can proceed into advanced stages before you start to feel pain. 

Errol Gindi D.P.M. and his team are toenail fungus specialists, should be your first call when you detect signs of fungus. Even with care, it’s an infection that commonly recurs, so medical supervision is necessary to help you manage the condition.

What is toenail fungus? 

Fungal infections occur when yeasts or molds that exist in the environment around you enter your nail or the skin of your toes, typically from splits or cracks in the nail or skin. The most common offender is a fungus called dermatophyte. These pathogens thrive in the moist, warm conditions that often surround your feet.

You get more prone to fungal infections as you get older. Nails become more brittle and dry, creating entryways for pathogens. This can be complicated by factors such as reduced immune system performance or circulation issues in your feet. 

Athlete’s foot is also a fungal infection, and it can spread from the skin on your feet to the toenails. Walking barefoot through warm and moist environments such as gym change rooms, pools, or showers may bring your feet into contact with the pathogens that infect you. 

Complications of toenail fungus

If your fungus advances to a severe phase, it may become painful and the damage to your toenail could be permanent. It’s also possible that the fungal infection could spread to other parts of your body, particularly if you’re taking medications or have medical conditions that suppress your immune system response. 

Diabetics have an increased risk for serious complications from any condition affecting the feet, due to potential blood vessel and nerve damage. Minor foot injuries can be slow to heal while progressing unnoticed due to reduced sensations in your feet. Toenail fungus significantly increases the risk to your feet. 

Treating a fungal infection

Toenail fungus can be persistent and difficult to overcome. Your first step is prevention. Keeping your feet clean and dry can keep your fungus from advancing or spreading. 

If you have a condition that makes it difficult to tend to your own nails, consider having a medical professional perform these duties. Dr. Gindi and his staff offer geriatric and arthritic foot care. 

There are over the counter and prescription antifungal medications that help control toenail fungus. Laser treatment is also an option, penetrating through the nail to kill fungus below the surface. Contact Errol Gindi, D.P.M. by phone or online to arrange your consultation. Toenail fungus is a problem that won’t go away on its own, so schedule your appointment now.

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