Has the cooler weather left you cheering? Has it given you an excuse to finally hide your toenail fungus inside close-toed shoes? Don’t celebrate just yet! You know that, in Houston at least, warm weather is just around the corner. And that means you’ll have to put the flip flops and sandals on again soon. Which is why it's time to start thinking about treating fungal toenails now.
What Are Fungal Toenails?
Thick, discolored, unsightly toenails are a common occurrence. Especially in Houston, where our weather is often hot and humid. Because that's the perfect environment for fungal growth. So infections in the toenails are common. Fungal toenails, or onychomycosis, are one of the most common conditions I see in my office. Fungus is a naturally occurring component on the skin and nails, especially in the foot. But it is an opportunist that will cause an infection if allowed to. So, if you walk around barefoot, you're basically inviting fungus into your body. That's especially true if you go barefoot in places where lots of other people do the same. (Think pools, locker rooms, the shower. Even beaches and hotel rooms aren't safe.)
Now, you could get an infection even if your feet are completely healthy. But the risk is even higher when you experience trauma to the toenail. Because even a minor injury could create a small opening in your nail. And that makes it easier for infections to set in.
Sadly, that's not the only thing that ups your risk for toenail fungus. Because you're at higher risk if you're someone who is immune-compromised. And that includes diabetics, who are more prone to fungal infections and are at risk for more severe infections.
Fungal Toenail Symptoms
A toenail infected with fungus appears thickened and yellow; it is often crumbly. Heck, it may even start to smell bad--and that's a problem, no matter what time of year it is! So, if your nail smells funky? Or looks a little off? Come in right away, because treating this type of infection takes a bit of time.
Treating Fungal Toenails in Houston
When it comes to fungal toenails, you can find lots of over-the-counter medications and preparations. There are also many popular home remedies, which provide no cure. So, if someone tells you to soak your fungal toenail in apple cider vinegar, or hands you a jar of Vicks Vapor Rub?
Show them the door, and come ask me about actual treatments. Because I have medications that provide complete cures. You just might need to have a little patience. Since, in some cases, clearing up fungal infections in your nail can be tricky.
Why is it so Hard to Cure Fungal Toenails?
There are a few reasons why your fungal toenail may not be getting better. First off, as I mentioned, over the counter treatments don’t work well. Now, I believe in some kinds of OTC products. (They can sometimes help your plantar warts. But these days, I see much better results with Swift treatments for warts on the bottom of your feet.)
So, why don't drugstore cures for fungal toenails work? Here's the problem. All they do is stick to the surface of your nail. But if we really want to resolve the infection? Well, you need a product that can penetrate beneath the nail. Because that's where the problems truly begin.
Then, there’s the fact that you may not even have a fungus. Some types of nail damage—not to mention certain forms of eczema-- look just like nail fungus. That's why the best (and only certain) way to know what you’re dealing with is to come into the podiatrist’s office.
In fact, if you’ve been treating fungus for a while, but the problem isn’t improving, you might need a special visit. That way, we can even do a quick pathological test to confirm what kind of fungus you’re dealing with. And this will allow us to tailor your treatment plan for better results.
Finally, a podiatrist like myself can write you a script for an oral medication. This will help clear up your infection once and for all. But if you’re still concerned about your nail appearance as it heals, never fear: we’ve got a way to help you there, as well!
Year-Round Fungal Toenail Treatments: They're a Must!
As a podiatrist in Houston, I know that people in this city have to leave their toenails on display a lot more than if we lived in a colder climate. After all, even in the middle of February, temperatures could easily hit 80 plus degrees. And that's sandal weather, the way I see it.
Now, since that’s the case, I offer a variety of treatment options for your fungal toenails. That way, yellow, thick crumbly fungal nails won’t force you to hide in boots while the rest of the city is enjoying open-toed shoes. What would that look like for you?
Here in my Tanglewood Foot Specialists office, I frequently treat toenail fungus with topical and/or oral medication. (This two-pronged approach can give faster results.)
I also offer laser treatments for fungal toenails. These may more effectively target certain types of fungus. (Something we can decide after pathological testing.) Plus, on top of those options? I also offer something very special that will be sure to bring a smile to your face, even when you’re in sandals. It called the KeryFlex toenail restoration system.
With KeryFlex, I can make your nail look healthy again. Even before the treatment process is complete. My patients really love it because it looks and feels exactly like their real nail—you can even put nail polish on without affecting the treatment.
If you have an embarrassing fungal toenail, you don’t have to hope for cold weather anymore. Just schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider today. Soon, you'll feel comfortable wearing any shoes you want.