Toenail fungus is an embarrassing, frustrating, and, unfortunately, common problem. Nearly 1 in 10 people end up with fungal nails, and most of them want to know if it will clear up on its own.
The short answer is no, but we want to explain why.
Our team of experts at Bay Breeze Foot & Ankle Specialists, led by Dr. Maurice Aiken, uncover the root cause of toenail fungus and the reasons why you need a specialist to get rid of it.
The basics of toenail fungus
Toenail fungus — or onychomycosis — infiltrates your toenails, discolors them, and ultimately weakens them. Virtually anyone can become a victim of toenail fungus, but you’re most at risk if you have:
- Diabetes or a circulatory issue
- Excessively sweaty feet
- A history of athlete’s foot
- Scrapes and cuts on your feet
Age can also play a role in your likelihood of developing toenail fungus, as can bad habits like walking around barefoot in public places.
Why toenail fungus needs treatment
Though it would be convenient, toenail fungus simply won’t resolve on its own. That’s because your toenails are made of multiple layers, and the fungus can spread into and in between those layers, as well as underneath your nail.
Without proper treatment, the fungus gets worse and can also infect your other toes.
Fortunately, toenail fungus typically only requires a visual examination to diagnose. Dr. Aiken can easily tell if you have a fungal problem by looking at your nails and the surrounding skin.
But the important thing to note is that toenail fungus does require an examination from a specialist. If it seems like your toenail fungus stems from an underlying condition, such as psoriasis, we collect a sample of your nail and send it to a laboratory for further examination.
Once we’ve determined that you have a fungal nail and identify what’s causing it, we begin creating your treatment plan.
Depending on your needs, this may include topical treatments, including nail creams that contain prescription-strength antifungal and antibacterial components. Although there’s a variety of over-the-counter fungal solutions available, you should always consult Dr. Aiken before trying an at-home remedy.
We also help you identify the aspects of your foot care routine that may be leaving you vulnerable to toenail fungus, especially if you have a condition like diabetes that impacts your foot and nail health.
In the most severe cases, we may recommend HyperBlue® laser therapy, which involves destroying harmful organisms with targeted light energy.
If you suspect that your toenails are under attack, don’t wait to contact us. Request an appointment online or call our Dunedin, Florida, office today at 727-285-9686.