If you have toenail fungus, a podiatrist can treat the condition and all its symptoms. Toenail fungus (onychomycosis) is a fungal infection that affects the nailbed. The condition occurs when fungus grows underneath the surface of the nail. Toenail fungus can spread to other toes and fingernails if not treated. The fungus can cause your nails to become dark, thick, and smelly. Seek professional treatment early to avoid further impairment.
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Two Ways A Podiatrist Treats Toenail Fungus
Leading podiatric doctors can treat a wide range of foot ailments and conditions, including toenail fungus. Visit a podiatrist for diagnosis and treatment if you suspect a fungal, bacterial, or yeast infection. Nail discoloration, thickening, and deformity can mean that necessitate seeing a foot doctor. Seeking treatment early can help you restore nail function and appearance. Here are two ways podiatry clinics can help:
1. Diagnose Your Toenail Fungus
Treatment for toenail fungus often begins with a proper diagnosis. Many conditions can share the same symptoms with toenail fungus, so you may incorrectly self-diagnose. The condition could be onycholysis, psoriasis, hematoma, paronychia, or other foot ailments. Toenail fungus comes from contact with fungi, which may occur when walking barefoot in swimming pools, shows, and locker rooms.
Other causes of toenail fungus include injury to the nailbed and pressure from shoes. Conditions like diabetes, immune deficiency, circulatory problems, and a history of athlete’s foot can also increase the risk of fungal infection. Your podiatric doctor will evaluate the toenails to determine contributing factors and identify the best treatment option. The doctor will also confirm if your symptoms result from toenail fungus.
2. Identify The Ideal Treatment Plan
A podiatric doctor can help you determine effective treatment based on the nature and severity of your toenail infection. Your lab test results can help determine the cause of the infection and inform the treatment options available for the condition. Treatments can include oral and topical medications and infected nail debridement, which involves removing the infected nail. Here’s an overview of the treatment options:
- Oral Antifungals: Oral medications can offer effective treatment for toenail fungus. Antifungals can act fast and provide a shorter treatment regimen. Oral medication is often the first treatment plan against toenail fungus. The caveat is such medications carry side effects and aren’t recommended for people with liver damage or congestive heart failure.
- Topical Antifungals: Your foot doctor may recommend topical antifungals, including creams and polish. Antifungal cream and lotion can be easy to apply at home once your doctor files the nail to make it thin and accessible. Rub the antifungal cream directly onto your clean, filed nails. You can also use antifungal nail polish as a long-term solution or as a preventative measure.
- Surgical Treatment: Some cases of toenail fungus may not respond to medication. Your foot doctor may recommend nail removal surgery if your infection persists after non-invasive treatments. The procedure involves removing the infected nail temporarily to apply topical antifungal directly. Podiatric doctors can also perform permanent toenail removal to treat chronic pain and deformed nails.
Working With A Podiatric Doctor Vs. Selfcare
Proper hygiene involving regular inspection and cleansing routines may help suppress mild infections but is primarily preventative. Treating toenail fungus usually starts with antifungal medications prescribed by an experienced podiatric doctor. Avoid using OTC medications without proper diagnosis. Your doctor can provide comprehensive instructions regarding cleaning, footwear, toenail clipping, and disinfection routines.
Self-care techniques can help prevent future infections and shorten the treatment duration. If you notice the symptoms of toenail fungus, speak to the best podiatrist you can find for proper diagnosis and treatment. Attempting to treat fungal infections without professional insights can cause more harm to your nails, toes, and feet. Choose a reputable foot, ankle, and toe institute with experienced podiatric doctors specializing in toenail fungus and other foot ailments.