The nails on your fingers and toes require special care to prevent fungal infections. Fungal infections can make your nails look unsightly and unattractive. Laser treatment can improve your nails by removing the fungi that lives in them. Doctors call fungal infections in the nails onychomycosis.
What Are Fungal Nail Infections?
Fungi are living organisms that normally live on your body. They do not present health problems until certain conditions make them grow out of control. Fungal infections in your toenails tend to grow rapidly during wet conditions, such as wearing damp shoes. This dampness comes from sweat or water. These organisms also inhabit public swimming pools and showers. If you frequent public areas with water, be sure to wear shoes that cover your feet and toes.
What Are the Symptoms of Fungal Infections?
You may experience several noticeable symptoms from getting a toenail infection. These symptoms can affect one or more toes. However, most infections can spread to other toes and the skin near the toes, if the conditions are just right.
One of the most common and typical symptoms of fungal nail infections is discoloration in the nail bed. The nail bed is the hard covering that protects the blood vessels and tissues of your fingernails and toenails. In the case of toenail infections, the nail bed may turn yellowish or some other unnatural color due to the fungus living beneath the nail. At first, you may notice white spots on your nails. The spots may later enlarge and take up much of the nails’ surface, which becomes dull. Unless, you know about fungal infections, you may not be overly concerned about the spots. Brittle Nails After the discoloration takes place, you may notice that your nails are brittle and crumbly. Your nails may crumble to the touch. This problem can actually make the nail bed lift up, which is referred to as onycholysis. Laser treatment gets with of weak, brittle nails and restores them to a healthy state. Your nails with grow normally on the tissue.
When the nail bed lifts, pain can set in and make wearing footwear very uncomfortable. The pain can be a dull aggravating ache, or it can also be searing and very painful. Pain medication may help relieve your symptom. Misshapen Nails As the fungus destroys your toenails, they may become misshapen. If you have the tendency to cut away the infected nails, you will eventually cause them to look unbalanced. In addition, the crumbling will change the way your nails appear.
How Does a Doctor Diagnose Onychomycosis?
A podiatrist, or doctor who treats foot conditions, may use a number of methods to diagnose toenail fungus. He may remove areas of the infected nail and examine it for signs of fungi. This examination may reveal the type of fungi affecting your nails. What Is the Treatment for Nail Infections? Laser treatment is a popular way to relieve your symptoms and clear your nails. Laser treatment uses a safe light to treat the condition. It is normally pain-free but you may feel some discomfort if your nail bed has lifted. Other options are available to you besides laser treatment. Your doctor may also prescribe antifungal medications to remove the fungi from your nails. Keep in mind that your treatments do not kill the fungi; however, they can clear up the problem. You can help prevent further infections by keeping your feet and nails dry and avoid wearing wet shoes.
fungal nail image by Wikipedia