Patients come see us at our OKC podiatrist office to receive effective treatment for an array of conditions that cause many different symptoms. Impaired foot or ankle function—especially painful conditions—are common reasons for someone to seek foot care from us, but another important one that brings patients in is to have an infection treated.
Some of the most common infections we see at Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma are fungal toenails. At first, this might seem like a relatively superficial issue to some people, but it is important to understand that toenail fungus can take away from a patient’s quality of life and cause embarrassment or self-consciousness. Additionally, any form of infection can become a major problem for our diabetic patients. Our goal is to take away these concerns by providing the right care for fungal infections.
Fungal Toenail Causes and Symptoms
Recognizing that you have a case of nail fungus (onychomycosis) is the first step in being able to receive the treatment you need. The most obvious symptom is the discoloration of your nail tissue, but others include nails that are:
- Thickened and/or distorted in shape
- Ragged, brittle, or crumbly
- Dull in appearance, lacking the shine of healthy nail tissue
- Darkened in color, which is often attributed to debris build-up under the nail
- Separated from the nailbed
- Emitting a funky odor
These nail infections are usually the result of a dermatophyte fungus, which is a microscopic organism. Since the fungus does not require sunlight to live, it can thrive in environments that are warm, damp, and dark (which accurately describes most feet covered in socks and shoes).
The fungus is often found in warm, moist places like showers, gym locker rooms, and swimming pool decks as well. These dermatophytes can enter tiny cuts or even a small separation between the nailbed and corresponding nail.
Complications from Fungal Toenails
If you live with diabetes, you should already be aware of the importance of diabetic foot care. One component of this is a daily foot inspection for anything unusual. It is worth noting that diabetic individuals are at greater risk of infections on account of reduced blood circulation and impaired nerve function. If you live with diabetes and suspect you have developed a fungal infection, come see us at your earliest opportunity.
Treating Fungal Nails
There are different ways to deal with infected toenails:
- Oral medication – Of the two different medicinal approaches, oral medication is simply more effective at handling the infection underneath the nail.
- Topical medication – While oral medications can come with undesired side effects, this is not usually the case with topical medicine. However, it is less effective in many cases.
- KeryFlex – A system that allows us to “remodel” a nail that has been warped or damaged—typically by a fungal infection, but also after trauma or other conditions—and restore it to a normal, healthy appearance.
In some cases, a combination of oral and topical medications can be extra effective.
Fungal Toenail Prevention
We are certainly able to provide the treatment you need when a case of toenail fungus develops, but our patients typically prefer to avoid the condition altogether. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to reduce your risk and they are not particularly difficult or complicated. These include:
- Keep your feet dry.
- Wash your feet daily with soap and water.
- Keep your nails properly trimmed.
- Wear socks that wick away moisture.
- Choose footwear that allows your feet to breathe.
- Wear shower shoes or sandals in locker rooms, public showering areas, and on pool decks.
- Be careful when visiting nail salons.
- Use antifungal powder or spray in your shoes.
Professional Care for Fungal Nails in Oklahoma City, OK
This common fungal infection is embarrassing, unsightly, and even poses a potential risk to diabetic individuals, but the good news is that you can have it treated here at Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma. We take pride in providing exceptional podiatric services for all of our patients from across the greater Oklahoma City, OK communities. Call our Oklahoma City foot doctor office at (405) 418-2676, or take advantage of our online form to easily request your appointment with us today.
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