Usually it starts small—perhaps just a corner of one little toenail. It seems brittle and distorted, but you may not think much of it. As time goes on, however, and the problem becomes more obvious, you can’t help but pay attention. If this sounds familiar, chances are high that you have developed a fungal nail infection. If you’ve seen pictures of the problem before, you might understand why the condition is “embarrassing” and “unsightly.” Damaged, distorted nails change the look of the whole foot. Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer through and hope the problem will eventually get better. With a little care, you can eliminate the infection and restore your nails to health.
Fungal toenails are caused by a microscopic fungus from a fungi family called dermatophytes—the same microorganism that causes athlete’s foot. It thrives in warm, damp environments, so it’s often found in public pools, locker rooms, saunas, communal showers, and similar places. The fungus gets underneath the nail and, if the conditions are favorable, festers and multiplies. As it grows, it damages the nail tissue. This results in thickening, crumbling, brittleness, discoloration, and sometimes a foul odor. The longer the problem is allow to develop, the more time it has to spread to other nails on your feet—and the harder it is to eliminate.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. The specialists at Dallas Podiatry Works are nail restoration experts. They work with your feet to eliminate the infection and restore your toes to their natural beauty as quickly as possible. When you come in for an appointment, Drs. Joel W. Brook, David R. Northcutt, Irene Arroyo, and John M. Baca will examine your feet to rule out other possible causes for nail changes, including damage from trauma, psoriasis, and small bone spurs under the nail. They will also painlessly scrape some nail tissue to test for fungus. Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, they will work with you to determine the best course of treatment for your toes.
How your condition is treated depends on what works best for you. There are many different options that can be very effective. Working to reduce the warm, moist atmosphere that fostered the fungus on your feet and in your shoes, along with medications or other treatments, is key to remedying the condition. Our doctors can recommend medication to help reduce heavy perspiration if that has contributed to the problem. They can also help you find the right anti-fungal products to kill the fungus that’s lurking in your shoes to reduce your chances of reinfection. Topical medications for your feet are able to eliminate fungus on the surface, though they can’t reach the stubborn microorganisms under the nail. Often they’re used with oral prescriptions, since that medication is able to target the fungus more directly.
Dallas Podiatry Works also has multiple procedures available to treat the condition, including the cutting-edge Q Clear™ Laser. This technology uses highly focused beams of light to target the organisms under the nail. The light passes safely through the nail tissue and eradicates the fungus underneath. In severe and stubborn cases of fungal toenails, the damaged tissue may be removed to allow the doctor to treat the infected areas so new nail tissue can grow.
It does take time for your toenails to return to their natural good looks following treatment, so if you are embarrassed and concerned about their appearance while they heal, you may benefit from our KeryFlex™ toenail restoration. This safe, easy procedure uses a special resin to create a natural-looking nail that protects your toes while your tissues regrow.
You don’t have to let embarrassment about your nails keep you from enjoying your feet. Fungal toenails can be a stubborn infection if allowed to get out of hand, but with a little care and monitoring, your nails can be restored to health. Don’t wait until all your toes are affected—seek help early! Contact Dallas Podiatry Works for an appointment or more information today and begin your path to healing. Call either of our two convenient offices—(972) 566-7474 for the Dallas location, or (972) 943-3323 for the Plano office—or visit the online contact page to reach us.