Have you noticed a yellow, brown, or white spot on your toenail or fingernail? Does your nail appear thickened or distorted? If so, you could be experiencing nail fungus, a common condition affecting millions worldwide. While it may seem minor, ignoring nail fungus can have serious consequences. If left untreated, the nail fungus Erin can spread to other nails, cause pain and discomfort and even lead to permanent damage.
The fungus thrives in warm and moist environments, making your feet and hands susceptible to infection. It can spread easily from person to person and through shared items such as nail clippers, towels, and shoes.
Risks of ignoring nail fungus
One of the biggest risks of ignoring nail fungus is its potential to spread to other nails. The fungus can quickly multiply and infect surrounding nails, making it much more difficult to treat. Additionally, the infection can spread to your skin and cause athlete’s foot, a common fungal infection that affects the skin on your feet.
Ignoring nail fungus can also lead to pain and discomfort. As the infection progresses, your nail may become thickened and distorted, making it difficult to trim and causing pressure on the surrounding skin. In some cases, the nail may separate from the nail bed, leading to further pain and an increased risk of infection.
If left untreated, nail fungus can even cause permanent damage to your nail and surrounding tissue. In severe cases, the nail may need to be surgically removed to prevent further complications.
The good news is that there are several effective solutions for preventing and treating nail fungus. To prevent infection, keeping your nails clean and dry is vital; you should also avoid sharing personal items and wear protective footwear in communal areas such as pools and locker rooms.
Nail fungus treatment options
If you do develop nail fungus, there are several treatment options available, including:
- Topical antifungal medications: These medications are available over-the-counter or with a prescription from your doctor. They come in creams or gels applied directly to the infected nail. Topical treatments work by penetrating the nail and killing the fungus.
- Oral antifungal medications: If topical treatments do not work, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication. These medications work from within your body to fight the infection. The drugs are often taken for several months, and your doctor will monitor your liver function while you are taking the medications.
- Laser treatment: Laser treatment involves using a focused beam of light to heat and destroy the fungus. The procedure is quick and painless, and there is no downtime. Laser treatment is most effective for mild to moderate cases of nail fungus.
- Surgical removal: In severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgical removal of the infected nail. This procedure involves numbing the toe or finger and removing the entire nail or a portion. After the nail is removed, a new nail will grow. Surgical removal is typically reserved for cases where other treatments have failed or if the infection has caused permanent damage to the nail.
If you suspect you have nail fungus, it is advisable to consult with your doctor at Gateway Foot and Ankle Center for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.