If there are noticeable changes to your toenail appearance, it could be because of fungus on toenails. Common symptoms include a crumbling or thick nail; changes to the nail shape or color; and odors coming from the nail. Sound familiar? Think you may have a fungal toenail infection? This is how our podiatrist in Powder Springs, Georgia can help!

How to Remove Fungus on Toenails

Fortunately, we can effectively treat this problem to restore the healthy appearance of your nail. But before we explain treatment options, you need to understand how and why fungus attacks your nail in the first place. Here's the deal. Fungal nail infections, or onychomycosis, have their roots beneath the nail's. And, because the infection starts below the nail, simply treating its surface may not effectively resolve your problem.

Remember, it's critically important to treat toenail fungus because this condition is contagious. What does that mean for you? If you don't resolve one fungal toenail infection, the trouble could spread to other nails on your feet. Or to the feet and nails of other family members! So, as soon as you notice changes in the appearance of your toenail, amke an appointment with Dr. Alvin Cowans to begin treatment.

What Causes Fungal Toenail Infections? Foot with fungus on toenail of big toe

Fungus is lurking everywhere in our world. Most of the time, though, those fungal particles are harmless. But trouble can begin if you expose your skin to surfaces with fungal particles.

You see, if there are any openings or cracks in the delicate skin around your toenails, fungal particles can work their way into your body. From there, the fungus can enter your blood stream. And soon enough, a fungal infection will follow.

Symptoms of Fungus on Toenail

In the early stages of infections, there may not be any visible signs that you have a fungal problem. But as you can see from the image on the right, that won't be the case for long. Because, as fungus invades your nail, you'll notice one or more of the following symptoms:

•    A thicker toenail
•    Changes in nail color, typically taking on a yellow tint
•    Bad odors coming from the nail
•    Nails that crumble or become brittle in texture
•    Deformities to the nail shape
•    Chalk-like debris that builds up below the nail surface
•    The skin surrounding the nail becomes more sensitive

Can You Prevent a Fungal Infection?

While it's tricky to treat fungus on toenail, preventing this type of infection is less difficult than you might think. Here are the preventative tips we recommend in our Powder Springs podiatry practice.

For starters, you should wash your feet every day, making sure to use soap and warm water. After you're done, be sure to dry the entire foot—don't forget those spots between the toes. Otherwise, you could be creating the kind of moist environment in which athlete's foot, a fungal skin infection, can thrive.

Next, make sure that you don't walk barefoot. This rule is especially important if you're walking on damp, shared surfaces like those by pools or in locker rooms. And when you cover your feet, be sure to choose shoes that give your feet some breathing room. Otherwise, your feet will sweat and get clammy. And, once again, you could be setting yourself up for an athlete's foot infection.

Also, the way you trim your toenails can go a long way towards preventing fungus on toenails. Make sure to use nail scissors instead of clippers. When you start to trim, move the scissors in a straight line instead of trying to follow the curving nail bed. And don't cut the nail too close to the delicae skin of your nail bed. (When you're done trimming, some white nail should still be visible.)  Otherwise, you'll expose too much of that delicate skin area. And, since that would leave your nail bed more vulnerable to cuts and cracks, it could increase your risk for toenail fungus.

Finally, try to invest in a personal pair of nail scissors for every member of the family. Even then, make sure to regulalry disinfect those scissors between uses. You could use rubbing alcohol, but even warm water and soap will do. Either way, taking this extra step could help protect you from developing or spreading a fungal toenail infection.

Treating Fungus on Toenail in Powder Springs Laser for Toenail Fungus

While many people can prevent fungal infections, these tips aren't fool proof. So, if you do notice any of symptoms of fungus on your toenail, please   call the office right away (or click here to make an immediate appointment.) You see, even the effective fungal toenail treatments take time to work, and to restore the nail’s former healthy appearance. That's why time is of the essence in coming to seek professional treatment. 

As soon as you come in, we'll diagnose your infection with a complete physical exam. And, depending on the severity of your infection and the type of fungus you're dealing with, we'll develop an individualized treatment plan.

But what could your treatment options involve? Our podiatrist in the Lost Mountain neighborhood of Powder Springs has several effective treatments toget rid of fungus on your toenail. And one of the most exciting treatment options is laser therapy, because it helps your body heal the fungal toenail infection at a much faster rate. Some patients can choose laser therapy for nail fungus as a stand alone treatment. Others may need to combine this option with oral or topicsal medications. And some patients may need to have us remove a portion of the fungal nail removed in order to fully resolve the infection, while clearing out any debris tha built up beneath the nail.  

Of course, every patient is unique, so healing will happen on your own time schedule. However, for most patients, getting rid of fungus on toenails is at least a 6 month process. So, if you want to show off your healthy toenails this summer, schedule your fungal toenail consultation in our office today


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