Toenail fungus can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Often, the best way to get rid of toenail fungus is through treatment that can only be provided by a professional podiatrist. If you suspect that you have a toenail fungus, visit one of the doctors at St. Cloud Foot and Ankle Center for a professional evaluation. Offices are located in Paynesville, Becker, Melrose, and St. Cloud, making treatment for toenail fungus convenient for people of all ages in Central Minnesota.
Toenail fungus is caused by a fungal infection that enters through the skin of your foot. As the fungus gets deeper into the toe, it can cause the nail to discolor, thicken, and crumble.
The nails may turn yellow, brown, or have a white dot that increases in size. Toenail fungus may also cause a foul smell and pain in one or several toes.
Anyone can contract a toenail fungus, but it is more common in older adults. That's because older nails become dry and brittle and can crack, allowing the fungus to enter the toe more easily. This condition also tends to be more common in men than women.
Those with a weakened immune system, diabetes, or poor circulation are more susceptible to toenail fungus. It can also start from the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot, and spread below the surface.
A toenail fungus can spread from one toe to another but is rarely contagious between other people.
Generally, toenail fungus is not severe and can be treated quickly. However, in several cases, or if left untreated for a long time, toenail fungus may cause permanent damage to your nails. It can cause the nail to loosen or even come off of the nail bed. It can also spread to the skin around your toenail.
For those with compromised immune systems or diabetes, a toenail fungus infection can spread to your feet and beyond. If you fall into that category, you should see a podiatrist right away whenever you suspect you may have a toenail fungus.
The podiatrist will first need to diagnose your toenail fungus properly. Sometimes, conditions like psoriasis can look like a toenail fungus, so the doctor may take a small nail clipping for lab testing to confirm.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, a podiatrist prescribes an antifungal medication to treat toenail fungus. Typical treatments are antifungal cream (Tolcylen), medicated nail polish, or possibly oral prescription medication. It usually takes 6-12 weeks on prescription medications to see results, since this allows a new fungus-free nail time to grow.
If the infection has caused severe nail damage, it may be necessary for the doctor to remove the toenail.
The podiatrists at St. Cloud Foot and Ankle Center will be able to diagnose and treat your toenail fungus right away. Call or make an appointment online at one of the four Central Minnesota offices.