Warm Weather Is Here So Don’t Ignore Discoloured Toenails

Warm Weather Is Here So Don’t Ignore Discoloured Toenails – You May Regret It

Spring is here. Summer is around the corner. And that means sandals & thongs become the footwear of choice. But have you checked your toenails? Do you have a toenail that just doesn’t look right? Do you have a nail that looks a little yellow or has become a little thicker than the other nails?  Well don’t ignore it, you may have Onychomycosis – the medical term for a fungal nail infection. You may think it’s only a minor issue but this infection has the potential to spread throughout the whole nail, spread to the rest of your nails & even spread to other family members.

How did I get it? Fungal nail infections are caused by the same bug that causes tinea. And these infections are easily “picked up”. You will most commonly contract them from places such as public pools & showers at hotels. You may have it because a family member has a fungal infection. You can also contract it visiting some nail/beauty salons if they are not using sterile equipment. And lastly, you may develop an infection because this bug naturally lives on your skin – so you infect yourself.

So what can I do about it? Most importantly don’t ignore it. There is a saying, “From little things, big things grow”. Fungal nail infections are like that. They start out in just a small area of nail & then spread. It may spread through one nail or it may spread through all of your nails. And it might take years & years to develop or within months you can notice dramatic spread of the infection.

Hurry up & tell me what to do? Sorry medical people can ramble a bit when explaining problems. So here’s the basic advice – if your nail is discoloured get it checked by a Podiatrist. There are less common reasons a nail becomes discoloured & this may be due to trauma ie. you’ve stubbed your toe or dropped something heavy on the nail & bruised it – this can make the nail change colour & thicken. The scary one though is there is an increasing occurrence of melanomas being detected under toenails. SO DON’T MESS AROUND, GET THE NAIL CHECKED.

If I need to see a Podiatrist what will you do? We’ll first determine if it’s a fungal infection. If it is a fungal infection then the basic advice is::

  1. If the nail is only infected on the top of the nail, treatment involving painting an anti-fungal medication on the nail maybe sufficient to treat the infection.
  2. If the nail is thickened or lifting off the bed underneath, it will need to be treated with either medication or laser. These treatments are both effective however the medication has some side effects (gut & liver & may require blood tests) whereas laser has no side effects. Success with laser is around 75% of cases treated.
  3. It’s also important to minimise the risk of contracting the infection again so some simple things are wearing thongs in showers/around pools, changing socks & shoes daily & keeping feet dry. Don’t share nail clippers. If you go to a nail salon, ask if their instruments are sterilised. And lastly check if any other family members have any nail infection.

When you come to Healthy Life Foot Clinic with concern about a fungal nail infection we do the following:

  • Initial assessment to confirm you do have a fungal nail infection.
  • Determine the potential cause of the infection.
  • Provide you a plan of how we will treat the infection & how to minimise the risks of re-infection.

We have been using laser for nail infections for more than 2 years with a high level of success. Treatment is painless, simple, safe & has no side effects.

For further information contact our clinics. If you think you may have a fungal nail infection, put your mind at ease & make an appointment before the infection spreads.

Watch this video for the simple process involved in treating a fungal nail.