What is a Fungal Nail?
A fungal toenail, also called onychomycosis, is a fungal infection in the nail bed and also in the nail plate. The infection commonly begins at the free edge of your toenail and spreads down and across your toenail until it covers the whole nail plate.
What does a Fungal Toenail look like?
A fungal nail appears thickened and discoloured. It is often crumbly and develops debris underneath the free edge of the nail. It can have unsightly lines on it and appear yellow or brown.
What else could it be?
If your toenail is thick and discoloured, it may not be fungal, there are several other conditions effecting toenail appearance. These include:
– Trauma – creating thickening of the nail plate and bruising under the nail. It can take as long as 18 months for a toenail to grow out entirely. Repetitive trauma from tight footwear, footwear that is too small or middle distance running can thicken and discolour your nail plate too.
– Onychogryphosis – a nail condition caused by very slow nail growth making the nail discolour thicken and curve.
– Onycholysis – separation of the nail plate from the free edge of the nail bed usually caused by repetitive shoe trauma or a vigorous pedicure (picking under the toenail).
– Psoriatic Nails – these toenails often appear yellow, thickened and pitted.
– Onychauxis – nails grow thick and white overtime.
What Causes a Fungal Nail Infection?
Onychomycosis is caused by a fungal spore gaining access under your nail plate. This can happen in many ways, some of which are listed here:
– History of tinea (Athletes’ foot)
– Shoe trauma
– Handing on of footwear or shoe sharing
– Wearing of enclosed shoes with inadequate ventilation or damp footwear
– Attending nail bars
– Partner transmission
There are several risk factors that can make you more susceptible to a fungal nail infection including:
– Poor circulation
– Family history
– Moist, humid environments
Diafactory testing at Erica Dash Podiatry
This is a simple, fast and accurate test for fungal nails offered at Erica Dash Podiatry and the results will be determined during the course of your normal consultation. It will offer you peace of mind you are choosing the correct treatment option for your unsightly nails. The Diafactory test is 97% accurate and detects 99% of all dermatophytes and the results are ready in 5 minutes.
Treatment Options at Erica Dash Podiatry
Once we have determined you have a fungal nail infection, there are different treatment options available.
Laser Treatment at Erica Dash Podiatry
The team at Erica Dash Podiatry choose ‘Pinpointe Laser” to treat your fungal nails. Laser therapy is a safe, non-invasive, painfree and effective treatment option for nail fungus. At Erica Dash Podiatry your podiatrist will treat all 10 toenails (even if you can’t see an infection in your other toenails) to prevent cross infection. The treatment takes around 20 minutes and all you feel is gentle warmth. Of course, we supply eye protection during the consultation.
Our Pinpointe laser is set to the correct wavelength to heat up and kill the fungal spores living in and underneath your nail plate. Lasers penetrate the nail plate and reach your nail bed quickly and effectively, faster than topical treatments.
You normally will see improvement in your toenail within 2 months, as this is the time it takes for your nail plate to grow forward. Pinpointe laser will kill your nail fungus in 1 – 3 visits.
Topical nail treatments are also suggested at Erica Dash Podiatry. A topical solution will need to be applied twice daily to your nail plate, this prevents cross contamination whilst being treated with laser. Your podiatrist will recommend the topical product that is right for you.
When you have an active fungal infection it is important to treat your footwear as well. This is because if there is a fungal infection on your foot, it will be in your shoes as well. An antifungal spray will be suggested by your podiatrist at Erica Dash Podiatry.
Your GP will need to prescribe oral treatment for fungal nails. Oral treatments are not the chosen option at Erica Dash Podiatry as they have many side effects including liver and kidney damage.
Upholding the Appearance of Your Nail
To manage the appearance of your nail whilst the nail plate is growing and returning to normal the podiatrists at Erica Dash Podiatry recommend Kery-flex.
Keryflex is a cosmetic service provided at Erica Dash Podiatry. It is the application of a flexible resin toenail by a ‘certified provider’ to restore the appearance of your natural nail. Keryflex will allow your new healthy nail plate to grow forward whilst maintaining a natural looking nail. The whole process takes around 30 minutes.
Keryflex is unaffected by nail polish, acetone and detergents, so if you choose, you may varnish your nails immediately after the completion of the procedure.