Identifying and Treating Toenail Fungus

Do You Have Toenail Fungus?

You might be used to hiding unsightly toenails, but this could be a sign that your body is trying to tell you something. It’s important to be aware that while discolored toenails are common, they may be indicative of some type of medical condition, such as a fungal infection. If left untreated, a fungal infection of a single nail can spread to other nails and the surrounding skin.

If you think there might be something going on with your toenail(s), compare your symptoms to the checklist below:

  • Discoloration – yellow, brown or green
  • White spots
  • Unusually thick or thin consistency
  • Oddly shaped
  • Nail is split, crumbling, lifting off or falling off altogether
  • Build-up of debris underneath the nail
  • Soft, dry or powdery to the touch
  • Painless at first, but becomes increasingly painful to wear shoes

Examining Patient With Toe Nail Fungus - East Winsor, NJ - Donna Barresse DPM

Those are just some of the common symptoms of toenail fungus, but every individual case is different. Another way to tell if you have a fungal infection is to think back on your recent activity. Were you walking barefoot on a pool deck, in a locker room or in a communal bathroom? Were your feet wet or sweaty for an extended period of time? Do you smoke, have psoriasis, poor circulation or frequently wear tight shoes? And finally, have you recently had Athlete’s foot or a similar type of skin infection on your foot? If the answer to any of these questions was yes, your chances of contracting or having contracted toenail fungus are elevated.

Getting The Right Treatment

If you suspect that you have toenail fungus, call your local podiatrist, Dr. Donna Barrese, for an examination. She and her team of knowledgeable staff members will be able to diagnose and treat your fungal infection. It’s always best to go sooner rather than later, especially if you have a weakened immune system, family history of toenail fungus or a condition that causes poor circulation, such as diabetes. If left untreated, diabetics, in particular, can develop persistent sores and a host of other complications.

In the exam room, the doctor will look over your nails and skin and may take a sample by scraping some debris from underneath the nail or clipping off a piece of the infected nail itself to determine the right diagnosis. Once you’re diagnosed with a fungal infection, depending on the severity, you might be prescribed a topical medication, an oral antifungal, or in extreme cases, the entire nail may have to be removed.

 Let An Experienced Podiatrist Help

While a discolored toenail might seem insignificant at first, it can worsen over time and eventually lead to other, more severe, conditions. Play it safe by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Donna Barrese or by stopping in to either her East Windsor or Lawrenceville, NJ office location.