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Onychomycosis (Toenail Fungus) Overview

Published March 16, 2015

More than 50 million Americans suffer from Onychomycosis (on-i-ko-my-ko-sis), a common toenail fungal infection that can cause discoloration, disfiguring of nails and can lead to serious skin infections such as cellulitis. Onychomycosis is an infection underneath the surface of the nail causing the toenail to become yellow or darker in color, thicker, and brittle, and can change of the shape of the toenail. 

Individuals who suffer from chronic disease such as diabetes, circulatory problems or immune-deficiency conditions are more prone to toenail infections. Walking around barefoot in areas such as swimming pools, lockers rooms, and showers also increases your risk of developing onychomycosis. Those who suffer from chronic athlete's foot are also at increased risk. 

Onychomycosis can be  difficult to treat because the disease process starts relatively unnoticed. Dermatophytes and other fungal organisms grow under the nail that lead to a fungal nail infection. It is only when the nail becomes discolored or starts to change shape that people realize there is a problem. Most topical treatments and over-the-counter medications are ineffective against this disease because they do not penetrate the toenail. Oral medications can be harsh on the body and the digestive system. 

Discolored and deformed toenails caused by onychomycosis can be embarrassing. If you think you are suffering from onychomycosis, it is important to have your feet evaluated and treated by a podiatrist. We offer a number treatment options for fungal toenails. Contact our office to set up an appointment. 
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