What Causes Fungus Nails?
Fungus nails are most commonly caused by a fungus called dermatophyte, which is a type of fungus that consumes keratin (what fingernails and toenails are made of). Other culprits include mold and year. While most people who get toenail fungus are older or have compromised circulation because of diabetes, it can occur at any age. We see several cases of fungus nail here in New Jersey each year from younger people who injure their toenails during athletic events, creating cracks or breaks in the nails that leave them more prone to fungal infections. Most cases are not serious and can be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, fungus nails that do not respond to treatment or are left untreated can cause serious health complications.
How Do I Know if I Have Toenail Fungus?
Fungus nails may start with just a tiny yellow dot on the nail, but over time the symptoms will become worse. Fungus nails rarely heal on their own. The symptoms of nail fungus include thickened nails or nails that grow away from the nail bed, yellowish-colored nails, and brittle, cracked nails. Without treatment, the fungus will often spread to other nails, cause the nail to deform, and eventually become painful to live with.
How to Treat Toenail Fungus
For most people, treating nail fungus simply requires regular use of an over-the-counter anti-fungal treatment, but if you do not see a response from the use of an OTC product, you should consult with your physician or a podiatrist. At Northeastern Foot & Ankle, we specialize in the utilization of laser therapy to help treat fungal nails. Laser therapy, which uses light energy to reach the nail bed to help destroy unwanted infection, has minimum side effects, requires no surgical aftercare, and may be more effective than oral and topical solutions.
If you are experiencing symptoms of fungal nails or would like to learn more about our available podiatric services and treatment, request an appointment with us today. Call 973.473.6665 or scroll to the top of the page to request an appointment.