Have I got fungal nails?
Although our feet are mostly tucked up in warm fluffy socks and shoes at the moment, now is the best time to start getting our feet summer sandal ready! As a lot of nail problems need time to allow the nail to grow out it is best to tackle these problems now. Ever wondered if you have fungal nails?
Have you or anyone in your family got discoloured or thickened nails? Ever wondered if they are fungal or not? Been hiding those toes away last summer embarrassed to let anyone see them? You aren’t alone. Its believed most of us will get a fungal nail at some point in our lives! It is important to know that not all thickened nails or discoloured nails are in fact fungal nails. Other things that can cause a similar appearance to fungal nails are:
- Damage by trauma or footwear
- extensive use of false nails or nail polish
- medical conditions
Fungal nail usually causes the following appearance changes. It is very important to remember it is best to have a confirmed diagnosis of fungus before starting any treatment, read further into blog to find out how is best to do this.
- Discolouration – Depending on the fungus this can appear white, black, green or yellow:
- Thickness – the nail may not start out thicker but over time as the problem becomes more chronic the nail may become harder to cut or a different shape. This may in turn cause pain when cutting or when wearing shoes. As it becomes thicker, pieces may break off or become crumbly a bit like soft cheese! Yuck!
- Debris under the nail – my patients and I often refer to this as the gunky stuff which seems to appear from under your nail but its really difficult to remove entirely.
What causes Fungal nails?
Most fungal nails are caused because of an undiagnosed and untreated athletes foot infection on the skin. This usually looks a bit red or scaly and can be very itchy. Contrary to popular belief it is not only found in between the toes but also around the borders of the foot.
Fungus like; warmth, dark and moisture and we are providing all 3 with our feet! So it is important to wash and dry your feet regularly and don’t wear shoes which may cause your feet to get too sweaty! Wearing cotton socks rather than going without socks or wearing nylon will also help. It is important to ensure all the infection of athletes foot is cleared up and you are preventing it from reoccurring before starting any treatment for the fungal nails.
So what should I do if I think I have a fungal nail or damaged nail?
There are lots of very expensive treatments on the market which all claim to be the best at treating fungal nails. Before you embark on any of these treatments I would suggest you have the nail tested to confirm the presence of fungus and most importantly the type of fungus. This is a quick, easy and reliable test which can be done in clinic. Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, treatment plans can be discussed and the best treatment given for your problem.
So if you are like many people and don’t want to hide those manky toes away next summer – make sorting them your new year resolution! Get booked in for an assessment and have perfect feet for next summer you will want to show off!
You can book an appointment today online – don’t be one of those people who has to hide those feet away yet another summer!