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Toenail Infection: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Toenail Infection

A fungal nail infection, technically known as onychomycosis, can affect fingernails but is much more common in toenails. It can be caused by various types of fungi and may spread to an infection between your toes (known as athlete’s foot) or may result from it.

Toenail infection causes include wearing sweaty shoes that help the fungus to thrive, being barefoot in damp public areas such as gyms and swimming pools and having cracked nails that allow germs to enter. Infection is normally indicated by nails that are unusually thick, brittle or cracked, or that become discoloured (generally yellow or brown). In more extreme cases, nails can become separated from the nail bed and may have an unpleasant smell.

Infection is something that we all naturally want to avoid in life. Not only is it something that compromises our health, but even in instances that start out small, these can lead to other complications that could bring about much more serious results. Our feet are not immune from infection, in particular, our toes, and so when toenails fall victim to fungus, for example, needing a laser treatment for fungal nails. You could also suffer from an ingrown toenail, and in that case you will need a surgery for ingrown toenails. Whatever is your situation, it is absolutely imperative that toenail infection treatment is sought out.

Here at Walk Without Pain podiatry clinics, we endeavour to bring a world-class service to those living in the Brisbane area. With four clinics dotted across the city and a team of nine podiatrists dedicating their efforts and expertise to your feet, rest assured that no matter what issue you present with, we will have solutions to get your feet back to 100 percent.

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Possible Causes of a Toenail Infection

Fungi are tiny micro-organisms, a bit like bacteria but from a different family.  Normally, the nail is protected from infection by these bugs by a protective layer that covers the surface of the fingernails and toenails. Fungal toenail infection gets in when the nail surface is damaged, creating a portal of entry for these organisms.

How Might you Damage a Nail to Let Fungal Toenail Infection in?

It is easy to abrade the surface of the nail enough to allow entry to fungal spores. Perhaps the nail was scuffed up by a close fitting shoe, gouged while you were using a nail tool or damaged by any kind of trauma. Events that cause a blood blister to form or the nail to lift at all would be especially suspicious.

Leaving nail polish on for extended periods is also an excellent way to develop the infection as it can ‘paint’ the fungus into place instead of falling off the shiny nail surface. Nail polish also traps moisture within the nail and in the skin below the nail so that it takes hours to properly evaporate.  This body heat, moisture and darkness creates perfect breeding conditions for the bugs.  You should be particularly wary about communal nail polish pots such as you might find in pedicure salons. Here, you may well pick up fungal spores from the person before you.  After all, who better to want their nails polished than someone with unsightly fungal toenail infection that they want to hide?

What to Do if You Think You Have a Toenail Infection

While podiatry can be viewed as an expensive service and even as a luxury to some, at Walk Without Pain we do our best to bring you world-class levels of treatment at rates that are more affordable and accessible than other practitioners. To this end, we also process HICAPS rebates while you are at any of our clinics.

The good news for those that have tried every possible solution out there and still have seen no positive change is that you are the perfect patient to visit our clinic. We are the go-to podiatry clinic for people like you simply because we have different techniques at our disposal that can solve intractable pain, or eliminate persistent infection by addressing the root cause.

How to Treat Toenail Infections

Anyone can suffer from toenail infections, but the condition is more likely as you get older, if you have blood circulation problems, diabetes or a weakened immune system. You are also more open to infection after an injury to a nail or if you already suffer from athlete’s foot. In many cases, people only have a mild version that doesn’t need any treatment although something needs to be done if you have swelling, bleeding or pain around the nails and you experience difficulty in walking. You may also need to consult a health professional if you have other health conditions such as diabetes.

Toenail infection treatment can be difficult, and many remedies don’t work particularly well. However, certain prescription and non-prescription remedies are available, typically medication that is taken orally over a period of two to three months and may eliminate the problem in four months or more as the infected nail grows out. These drugs can cause side effects, can interfere with other medication and are less effective in older people.

Alternative treatments are medicated nail polish that may need to be applied daily over a full year and medicated nail cream that is applied to nails after first thinning them for better penetration. In certain cases, doctors may remove nails completely in order to be able to apply antifungal drugs directly before the nail grows back. At Walk Without Pain, we prescribe whatever treatment we consider the most appropriate although often this is fungal nail laser treatment that is quick, painless and particularly effective.

How to Ensure Toenail Infection Prevention

Toenail infection is always a risk, especially for those who are particularly vulnerable, and may come back even if you get rid of it. You can help to prevent an occurrence by taking a few basic measures:

  • Keep your feet as clean and dry as possible, particularly your toes and between them. It may also help to moisturise your nails and to apply an antifungal foot powder and a nail hardener to strengthen them.
  • Trim your nails short so there are fewer places for fungus to thrive, always disinfect your clippers after every use and never share them with others.
  • Ensure shoes are clean, disinfected and made from breathable materials.
  • Change your socks frequently and ensure they’re absorbent.
  • Avoid nail polish and artificial nails.
  • Keep your feet covered in damp public areas to avoid infection.

If you have any concerns about your feet, book an appointment and we’ll advise the best treatment.

Do I Need Toenail Infection Treatment?

While a treatment for toenail infection may not be something you take too seriously initially, it is always worth knocking it on the head before it develops. Those that suffer from a fungal infection are advised to seek treatment as soon as they become aware of the infection, simply because this contagious problem can spread to other toes and create all sorts of problems for your feet.

If you are uncertain whether your toenail has a fungal infection there are a few things to look out for. The discolouration is the main thing, with the nail presenting in a more yellowed or dulled way. The toenail may also be lifting, or there is a presence of a significant amount of debris collecting beneath the nail. What’s more, toenails with fungal issues present may become much more brittle and break apart, making things particularly uncomfortable.

Toenail infection treatment at Walk Without Pain can be delivered in a number of ways. Laser treatment is an effective way to target the fungal spores in the bed of your toenail by emitting a series of light pulses that pass through the nail to kill these problem spores, without causing any damage to the nail itself, or the surrounding skin.


Get Your Treatment For Toenail Infections For One Fee Only

Of course, a damaged nail will not simply heal and so as the new nail grows out, the affected areas must be cut off as growth progresses. Rest assured that in using laser treatment this is a non-invasive procedure that will take up only 30 minutes of your time and you won’t experience any new pain, which means you can leave the same way you arrived. The good news is that once you pay the laser fee for the treatment, any additional re-laser treatments are done at standard podiatry consultation fees.

So, take control of your feet and eliminate the problem that has impeded your ability to get about with the freedom you deserve. Toenail infection treatment here at Walk Without Pain podiatry clinics is right on your doorstep and offers you a means to reclaim your ability to live your best life. Book your appointment today.

We provide bulk bill podiatrist in Brisbane including plantar fasciitis treatment and shin splints treatment. Speak with one of our team today to find out more.

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