While the word may sound like some kind of scientific experiment, onychomycosis is a fancy term for a fungal infection of either the toenails or fingernails. When a fungal infection affects the areas between your toes, it’s called Athlete’s Foot (which we’ve covered in one of our previous blogs). Initially, nail fungus is often a simple cosmetic concern. However, it can actually lead to the thickening, discoloration, disfiguring, or even splitting of the nails. Who wants that!

How do I know if I have it?

If you have a fungal infection on our toe or fingernails, you will experience one or more of these symptoms

  • Thickening of the nails
  • Discoloration that can be whitish to yellow-brown
  • A distorted nail shape
  • Brittle or ragged nails
  • A dark color due to debris buildup under the nail
  • A slight foul smell

The severity of nail fungus can vary– as with most conditions. You may not even need antibiotic treatment and might be able to fix the problem with over-the-counter topical creams and self-care–cleanliness being one of them. Generally, patients seek our help for aesthetic reasons, but that doesn’t mean nail fungus can’t wreak havoc! For some, lack of treatment can cause excessive thickening of the toe or fingernails, which in turn forces the toe to press against the inside of the shoes, causing pressure, irritation, and pain. This can interfere with walking, standing, or exercising.

How do the pros know it’s nail fungus?

Usually, we just know. Onychomycosis is easily identified by its appearance. However, there are similar conditions and infections that can cause nails to host a similar appearance. A definitive answer can come from laboratory tests before beginning treatment.

What are the risk factors?

You may be more prone to developing this pesky condition for the following reasons:

  • Family history
  • Advancing age
  • Poor health
  • Trauma
  • Showering in communal showers—such as fitness clubs
  • Habitually wearing shoes don’t allow proper airflow
  • Illnesses such as diabetes can suppress the immune system and reduce blood circulation and nerve supply in your feet, making nail fungus more likely to occur and get worse.

How can I treat nail fungus?

Treatment depends on the severity, but some general options are:

  • Wash your hands and feet regularly, and definitely wash them after touching an infected nail. Fungus can spread!
  • Buy over-the-counter antifungal lotions and creams from your local pharmacy.
  • Try moisturizing your nails.
  • Trim your nails so they are smooth and file down any thickened areas. Always wash the tools you use afterwards!
  • Opt for shoes that allow breathability. Fungus loves to live in dark, moist areas.
  • Socks also matter. Try wearing sweat-absorbing socks and change them if they become wet.
  • Fungus can be quite bothersome since it tends to come back. This is why it’s important to get rid of any shoes or socks that are potentially contaminated. If that seems too dramatic for your taste, make sure to give them a good, thorough clean!
  • Be vigilant about where you walk. Places like saunas, pool areas and locker rooms are breeding grounds for fungus! That being said, wear footwear if you find yourself in any of these places.
  • Buy Tolcylen Cream, a groundbreaking antifungal medication available without a prescription-and purchasable in our office! Proven to be more effective than over-the-counter treatment, this cream offers the ideal nail-fungus remedy. What is it and how does it work?
      • Contains cosmetic and skin renewal agents
      • Vanishing cream base
      • Cures and prevents Athlete’s Foot
      • FDA approved
      • Dispensed through touch-free, leak proof applicator
      • Soft tube for comfy use

For more information, call our office at 571-418-8670 or schedule an appointment today!

Fredericksburg Lorton