How to Prevent and Treat Toenail Fungus

How to Prevent and Treat Toenail Fungus

The name alone sounds repulsive, but toenail fungus is a relatively common condition because your toes spend a lot of time in warm, dark, and damp places like your shoes and socks. The infection makes your nailbeds turn white, yellow, or brown and causes the nails to thicken. While it isn’t painful, you might think twice before going barefoot or wearing sandals. 

Michael Ruiz, DPM, treats toenail fungus at our welcoming podiatry office in Erie, Pennsylvania. A few visits to Erie Podiatry can clear your infection, and Dr. Ruiz can teach you strategies to avoid future bouts of toenail fungus. 

Prevention is key

Toenail fungus tends to develop when a type of fungus makes its way into your nailbeds. A type of mold called a dermatophyte is the most common cause of toenail fungus because it feeds off a protein in your nails called keratin, but there are other molds and microscopic organisms that can also cause the infection. 

Toenail fungus is quite contagious and often develops after you get athlete’s foot and it spreads to your toes. You can lower your chances of catching toenail fungus by:

Taking these measures definitely lowers your risk, but there are always extenuating circumstances that can still lead to an infection. If you get toenail fungus, Dr. Ruiz offers evidence-based treatment at our office. 

Treating toenail fungus when it happens

You can resolve most cases of toenail fungus with mild podiatric treatments in just one visit to our office. In very mild cases, watchful waiting may be all you need. Simply let Dr. Ruiz know if the toenail fungus worsens instead of clearing up on its own. 

For moderate to severe toenail fungus, Dr. Ruiz often prescribes antifungal medications. Topical medications, oral medications, or both at the same time can target and kill the fungus causing your toenail infection. If you take oral antifungal medication to clear your toenail fungus, Dr. Ruiz monitors you closely for side effects.

Debridement is also a necessary part of treating toenail fungus for many people. It happens in the office with no need for anesthesia. Using a sterile nail file and clippers, Dr. Ruiz physically removes diseased nail material and debris from the nail bed. He also trims the toenail neatly to reduce pressure on the nailbed. 

In the most severe cases of toenail fungus, the removal of the entire affected toenail may be inevitable. Dr. Ruiz uses conservative attempts first to preserve the whole nail or as much of it as possible. 

Need more information?

Toenail fungus might not cause physical discomfort, but you should still try to clear the infection to avoid spreading it to other people or to your other toes. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ruiz at our office, call us today or request an appointment online

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