According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 14% of the American population have toenail fungus infections. It’s a common condition often caused by the same fungi that cause athlete’s foot. Entering through a crack or split in a nail, these fungal invaders can cause your nails to discolor and crumble.
Though it’s sometimes possible for toenail fungus to clear up itself or with minimal intervention, it’s more common that the infection persists, requiring dedicated effort to cure.
The team at Hudson Valley Foot Associates is ready to share our expertise in toenail fungus treatment with you. As well as topical ointments and medicated nail polish, we offer the Q-Clear™ laser, an innovative way to clear nail fungus through the nail itself.
The most common type of fungus affecting toenails is called dermatophyte, though it’s not the only one that can invade your nails. In fact, you can get nail infections caused by bacteria, molds, or yeasts too. It’s common for athlete’s foot fungal infections to spread to the toenails, though you can pick up a nail infection directly in places like gym or swimming pool locker rooms and showers.
Sweaty shoes are another breeding ground for fungi. Your risk for infection increases as you get older and if you have skin or medical conditions that affect your nails, blood flow, or immune system activity.
Without treatment, a toenail fungus can permanently damage your nails or spread infections to other parts of your body. While not every case is painful, it’s possible for toenail fungus to cause bleeding, swelling, discomfort, and pain. A severe case could interfere with your ability to walk.
Some toenail fungal infections may go away on their own, but it’s not common and you should always assume that you’ll need treatment to eliminate your fungus, since complications from more serious and widespread infections can arise.
For mild cases of toenail fungus, ask your pharmacist to recommend an over-the-counter antifungal treatment. Accompany this with foot care, such as washing and drying your feet regularly, changing socks frequently, and avoiding moist conditions like sweaty shoes or walking barefoot in public places.
It can take months to completely shut down a fungal infection, and even then it’s common for reinfection to occur. If you don’t see any improvement in your condition, it’s time to see us at Hudson Valley Foot Associates.
We add prescription-strength products to your treatment plan. Oral antifungal medications are often the first line of treatment. Though you may take a daily medication for up to 12 weeks, you won’t see results until healthy toenail growth replaces the infected nail. This may take four months or more.
Medicated nail polish products attack toenail fungus directly. You may need to use a medicated polish daily for up to a year. Nail creams are another alternative and these, too, produce results only slowly.
The Q-Clear laser has the advantage of using light energy to reach the underside of a toenail plate. One of the problems with creams and polishes is that they can’t reach the fungal infection under the nail. A q-switched laser approved for use on toenail fungus by the Food and Drug Administration, Q-Clear stops the fungus with a painless treatment session with high patient satisfaction levels.
There’s no need to battle toenail fungus on your own. Contact the nearest location of Hudson Valley Foot Associates by phone or online to schedule your appointment today.