Perfecting My Foot

Fungal Infections - Podiatrist Treatment Measures

The bacteria that is found in public pools or locker room showers could contribute to fungal growth underneath one or more toenails. Fungal growth can also be triggered by inadequate hygiene practices. Discoloration, thickened nails, and pain around the toes may necessitate being seen by a podiatrist.

Fungal Issues

Fungus often grows beneath the nail and can spread from one toe to another. In severe cases, a fungal infection can spread to other parts of the body, including the fingernails. If a fungal infection is not treated, your nails could continue to be discolored and may thicken even more. A person may have difficulty wearing some footwear due to the increased pressure along the toe or toes that have been affected by fungus. To kill fungus and prevent a future toe issue, an individual should consult with a podiatrist.

The Diagnosis And Treatments

A podiatrist may perform a physical exam and lab testing. These two processes will provide a podiatrist with conclusive results. If any fungus has been detected, a podiatrist may prescribe an antifungal oral medication. This medication may need to be taken until a fungal infection has cleared in its entirety. A podiatrist may recommend that a patient uses a topical medication, too.

A topical medication should be applied daily to the affected nail. If signs of a fungal infection appear around the nail, a sterile swab can be used to apply topical medication. A podiatrist may advise a patient to wear open-toed shoes or footwear with a looser design than what they are accustomed to wearing until the fungus has cleared up.

More Intensive Treatment Options

If a patient's toe does not respond to the initial treatment methods that a podiatrist has prescribed, the individual should seek a follow-up appointment. Some severe fungal infections may require a more direct treatment process. This may involve removing the toenail that is affected. A patient's toenail will be assessed and if a podiatrist finds that a toenail removal process should be implemented, they will numb the toe and perform the removal.

A topical antifungal medication can be applied directly to the surface that is affected. Once a fungal infection has been eliminated, a patient should follow standard hygiene practices. Drying the feet after bathing and wearing sandals or another type of protective footwear when visiting a public shower or walking along a public swimming pool deck can minimize the amount of bacteria that the feet come into contact with.

For more information, reach out to a podiatrist near you.