Fungal nail infections also known as Onychomycosis, are chronic infections which attack the nail plate and nail bed. The infection is subtle in the beginning and may go unnoticed, but over time becomes evident. It tends to be stubborn and resists many generic forms of treatment.
Fungal nail infections cause embarrassment, difficulty with nail hygiene, and can spread to other nails and other family members.
Patients can spend months to years using topical lacquers and lotions on the fungal nails without a successful cure. Nail lacquers are expensive, and often do not get to the source of the fungus without a podiatrist’s help.
Toenail fungus is more common than fingernail fungus due to the confinement of feet into closed shoes, as well as the increased chances for repetitive microtrauma to the toenails.
Fungus often takes hold at the free end of the nail, progressing downwards towards the cuticle. The more severe form spreads below the nail plate, making it very difficult to treat only with topical antifungal lacquers.
As the infection takes hold, the nail breaks down and develops white, yellow, or brown discolouration along with a thickened and crumbly appearance. If the toenail is always subjected to repetitive stress or trauma such as ill-fitting shoes, the infection can recur again in the future.
Podiatrists have abundant experience treating nail conditions, especially fungal nail infections. Patients must be aware that there are many nail conditions which resemble fungus, but in reality may be a systemic deficiency or other conditions affecting the nails, such as trauma or psoriasis.
If you are worried that you have a fungal nail infection please look for these signs or speak to a Podiatrist today.
All infections should be addressed promptly; ignoring fungal infections allow them to worsen, making it much harder to treat. Severe nail fungus may require more invasive methods to address the infection. Nail infections are highly contagious and can spread to other nails and other family members.
For fungal nails resistant to topical medications, we will help the patient achieve cure through PACT photodynamic therapy. This is a convenient and painless treatment with a high success rate, derived from modern Western medical advances. Unlike oral anti-fungal medications, there is no systemic toxicity or interference with other medications.
PACT is 100% safe with no side effects, but it is not for everyone.
Nail problems can occur at any age, from young children to the elderly. Dry, brittle nails to abnormal discolourations, infections and nail change – anything that is abnormal about the nail should be investigated. Nail disorders can be indicators to underlying health conditions.
Changes with the nail which should be addressed promptly are: