Spring is here and the weather is warming up. That means you can start wearing your sandals and thongs – they feel so good!!!

You realise you haven’t shown your feet much love over winter so you check them out.

It’s then you notice your big toenail has a yellow colour in it. “What’s that?”, you think. Of course, you Google the nail & you find out you may have a FUNGAL INFECTION IN YOUR TOENAIL.

At this point your first point of call should be to contact a Podiatrist. BUT, you do what most people do and ignore it. Or, you get some nail polish and cover it up. Months down the track, you have a closer look, or you remove the nail polish and the yellow colour has spread to more of the nail and maybe has spread to other nails.

If this is you, can I please ask you to stop, read the rest of this blog and then call and make an appointment to see one of our Podiatrist’s.

SO WHAT’S GOING ON?

Patient with fungal toenails       

 

 

In non-medical language, everyone has “bugs” on their skin (including fungus – sounds gross but it’s normal). For varying reasons, the fungus can attach itself to your nail which gives it it’s yellow/brown/greenish discolouration.

When ignored, the fungus will eventually spread and get under the nail. This will lead to your nail becoming thickened or brittle and can even give off an odour. Left alone, it may eventually spread to other nails or, if you share the same shower, you may potentially pass it on to someone else e.g. your kids, partner etc.

This is not written to scare you but to say, when you notice a problem with your nails, contact us, have it assessed properly and commence treatment early. This will lessen the risk of further damage occurring to your nails and requiring more extensive and costly treatment.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?

PREVENTION – lets avoid it in the first place

  • Basic foot hygiene – dry your your feet really well, change socks daily, wear thongs in showers if travelling
  • Nail polish – don’t use in winter, don’t reapply without checking the health of your nail underneath
  • Nail salons – choose carefully, fungal infections can be picked up at nail salons if their hygiene is not appropriate
  • Look at your feet and nails – anything out of the ordinary e.g. rough skin, discoloured nails, see a Podiatrist

TREATMENT – so I’ve got it, what do I do?

Without it sounding like a plug for Podiatrist’s, go & see a Podiatrist straight away. Get a proper diagnosis rather than self diagnose and treat with Dr Google.

There are 4 ways to treat fungal toenails each with different likelihoods of success:

  1. Things like vinegar wiped over the nail can sometimes help in the very early stages
  2. Medication you paint on can help in the early stages
  3. Oral medication (have some potential side effects)
  4. Laser
So, don’t ignore discoloured nails. Early attention can save a lot of time, cost and frustration. AND, will allow you to wear your thongs and sandals without the embarrassment.

Mark Heard

Mark has practiced as a Podiatrist for over 27 years, during which time he has developed a wealth of expertise enabling him to provide sound advice and treatment on all aspects of foot and ankle health

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