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What to Do If You Have Toenail Fungus

Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, but several treatment options are available at your Bucks County podiatrist's office.

Toenail fungus is a very common condition, affecting approximately 10% of the adult population. Clinically known as "onychomycosis," it can affect fingernails as well. Toenail fungus is fortunately treatable at your podiatrist's office in Newtown.

Signs, symptoms and causes

Often the first symptom of toenail fungus is a thickening of the affected nail. It may also become discolored - with white, green, black or yellow. Over time, the nail becomes extremely brittle. Although toenail fungus is generally not a painful condition, the infection can spread to the surrounding skin and cause inflammation.

Onychomycosis is caused by a a buildup of various yeasts or molds on the nails. It tends to be a disease of the aged, due in part to slowed blood circulation and nail growth. It can also be brought on by prolonged exposure to moisture, excessive sweating, or other skin conditions such as athlete's foot or psoriasis.

Diagnosis and treatment

As many other conditions can look similar to toenail fungus, it is imperative that you have a thorough evaluation at Buxmont Podiatry. If a microscopic examination and biopsy confirms the presence of fungus, you may be prescribed an oral or topical antifungal medication regimen. Some patients may respond better to permanent removal of the affected nail. More recently, laser treatment has been implemented at Buxmont Podiatry. This type of surgery, which uses the laser's heat to destroy fungus, is minimally invasive, quick and virtually painless. It can also be performed in the office and downtime is minimal.

Because any foot wound can lead to complications in people with suppressed immune systems or those with diabetes, a podiatrist should be informed immediately if you suspect your toenails may have a fungal infection so that a course of treatment can be planned.

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