You probably didn’t notice when it first started. It usually looks like a small streak or spot on the nail; something that rarely looks out of the ordinary.
That little blemish never went away. It grew over time, and your nail changed with it. Your nail might have become:
- Brittle or crumbly
- Discolored in whitish, yellowish, or brownish ways
- Distorted in shape, sometimes even lifting up off the nailbed
- Slightly foul-smelling
When your toenail has changed in this way, odds are likely that a fungal infection has begun to develop. Due to the nature of these infections, the sooner you begin taking action, the faster you will begin to see results.
What Causes Fungal Toenails?
There are multiple kinds of fungus that can lead to an infection in the toenail. Some can also be responsible for other conditions such as athlete’s foot.
A fungus will usually enter the toenail through a crack or other existing vulnerability. Those who have dry nails are at a higher risk of contracting a fungus.
When a fungus has infiltrated into a toenail, the body’s immune system may still be able to eliminate it. If it hasn’t, it either means the body was not equipped to handle that particular fungus or the body has an overall impaired immune system (sometimes due to poor circulation).
Fungus survives well in warm, damp conditions. Walking barefoot around public locker rooms and pools will increase your odds of picking up a fungus, just as it would increase your odds of athlete’s foot.
Treating Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus can be very stubborn, and many over-the-counter products do not provide enough help. If the condition of your nails is not showing improvement, do not hold off on contacting us for advanced treatment. The longer you wait, the deeper the fungus can embed into your nail.
Treatments for fungal nails can involve the use of powerful topical ointments and may involve filing the nail down to give the medication a better opportunity to reach the fungus.
Oral anti-fungal medications may also be considered. Use of oral medications has the benefit of working from the inside out. However, they also have the potential for side effects ranging from rashes to liver damage. It might not be reasonable for certain patients to use oral medications at all, and monitoring certain labs is usually recommended for those who do to ensure there are no adverse effects.
Treatments for fungal nail infections can take several weeks to several months to be fully effective. Even when the fungus has been fully eradicated, the damage to the nail will remain until new, clear nail tissue is able to grow out and replace it.
Clear Nails Now with KeryFlex
When infected or damaged nails need to look clearer, KeryFlex is an option to consider. KeryFlex bonds a realistic, medically designed artificial nail to the damaged nail beneath. You must have enough of your nail remaining for it to be attached.
Application is easy. A bonding layer is placed on the current toenail. Once it is set, a couple layers of resin will be added and cured, gradually building up the artificial nail until it has a normal, desired appearance. The nail is then shaped, cured again, and then sealed.
KeryFlex nails are built to be durable, flexible, and last up to 2 months. They can be used during certain forms of fungal treatment or afterward while new nail grows in beneath.
If a fungus is making your nails look miserable, it’s time to give them the help they need. Call Northwood Foot and Ankle Center at (616) 393-8886. If you’d prefer to contact us electronically, our online contact form is available as well.