Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is something that affects about 6.5% of Canadians. Thousands of people will suffer from this problem throughout their lifetime.
Symptoms and Complications of Toenail Fungus
Onychomycosis is characterized by discoloration and thickening of the nails as a result of overproduction of keratin meant to replace the ones eaten by the parasites. Eventually, the nails start to turn white, yellow or brown and may crumble, chip or fall off completely. (Signs of nail fungus infection http://nailfungus.ca/what-is-nail-fungus/#/how-to-identify)
While the fungal nail infection is typically painless in the beginning, if the disease is left untreated, the symptoms may begin to cause discomfort. Numerous studies have shown that about half of people with onychomycosis on their toenails experience pain as the nails thicken. This therefore can interfere with walking and standing. (Possible complications of nail fungus http://nailfungus.ca/what-is-nail-fungus/#/how-to-identify)
As well as being contagious and tough to get rid of, toenail fungus infections can be embarrassing. According to a Leger survey, 8 out of 10 Canadians agree that toenail fungus infections are a huge turn-off and 50% of those affected will avoid exposing their toes. ( Info sent to me)
If you get a pedicure at a nail salon, be sure to ask how the staff disinfects their tools and how often they do it. Emery boards and nail clippers, can spread fungal infections from person-to-person.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)
Even if there is no pain associated with the infection, it is important that you promptly visit your doctor for assessment if you see any abnormal nail changes. They will take a scraping of the nail and look under a microscope for signs of a fungus.
Tips to Prevent Fungal Toe Nail Infections
According to Dr. Loukia Mitsos, a Quebec-based dermatologist, making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent a fungal infection of the nails. (info sent)
- Keep your feet clean and dry by removing the liners from shoes or boots and placing them next to a heat source. This will help allow drying between uses.
- Change your socks frequently, especially when sports such as running, skating and skiing create greater chances for your feet to perspire. Opt for materials that are breathable to keep moisture away from the skin. Wool and sheepskin are good options, cotton is not!
- Keep toenails clipped short and straight across. Avoid nail polish and acrylic nails, as they prevent air from reaching the surface and be careful not to share instruments used to take care of your nails.
- Let your feet breathe, but avoid walking barefoot in public showers, pools and locker rooms.
- Dry your feet well after showering, especially between the toes.
How Is a Fungal Toe Nail Infection Treated?
The good news though is that treatment for onychomycosis is available. Quebec dermatologist Dr. Loukia Mitsos says, “Many options are available to treat the condition and your doctor is qualified to determine which is best for you. The most commonly prescribed treatment for toenail fungus infection is 10% efinaconazole or Jublia- a topical liquid for treating nail fungus. ( info sent to me)
It’s especially important to see your doctor if you have diabetes and a fungal nail infection. People with diabetes are at greater risk of developing potentially serious complications caused by the infection.
If you’d like to learn more about toe nail fungus, please visit nailfungus.ca. Your feet will thank you for it!