Fungus Toenails / Onychomycoses / Tinea Unguium
ONYCHOMYCOSES is a fungal infection of the nail, and can affect the surface or the entire depth, the end, or the root region, as can be seen in some of these photo examples . Millions of people have this condition, so if you think you , or someone you know may have this problem, you are not alone. Also rest assured, that when so many people have a problem, then there are bound to be many options of good care available. Anyone can develop a nail fungus, and it does not mean you are not clean, or have poor hygiene. Fungus is an opportunist, so it will invade a damaged nail , such as one that you had a prior ingrown nail or infection treated. Perhaps you dropped something on a nail, years ago, and the nail fell off or was deformed afterward , and then just started to change appearance. Maybe you lost a toenail or two running or playing a sport . Maybe you came out of the infantry, and your feet never looked the same afterward. This condition takes a better hold in a Diabetic, a person with poorer circulation, the elderly, the sick and frail, but is also common in healthy athletes. Even kids can get it. Fungus nails can become painful because they can thicken and then are hard to cut. They can contribute to ingrown nails. They can lead to athletes foot ( and athletes foot can be a source of developing nail fungus ) . But sometimes , they are just unsightly, potentially embarrassing, and not something you may want to proudly show off at the beach, or when getting to know someone on a more intimate basis. And yes, the fungus can spread, to your adjacent toes, and to other folks, in the right set of circumstances.
So, for whatever reason you may have , if you or someone you know has this condition, please do not hesitate to make an appointment. At your first visit, we will help determine if indeed you have a true fungus toenail condition . There are some " look alikes", that could include psoriasis, subungual hematoma, melanoma, or just dystrophic, damaged nails. Depending on how we want to manage the condition, a generally painless nail culture ( which will be incubated at our local hospital to see what grows ) might be taken. There is a proper way to do this, so if you already had a culture that did not reveal growth, you still might have the problem if your nails look like any of our photos. If pain is part of your presentation, we have the instruments, techniques , and experience to simply cut, and thin what may have been impossible for you to do, at our very first visit, and give you at the very least, some temporary improvement . This is not an inconvenience for us to do this, and certainly not a bother. In fact, all podiatrists, at the first professional degree level, before residencies, or post doctor of podiatric medicine degree ( DPM ) are trained to do this. This debridement of the fungus nails, every few weeks, may be the best for example, for some eldery, diabetic patients . That is why medicare , or similar insurance, often cover this type of service at a certain number of weeks between visits But rest assured, because in part due to Board Certification by ABPOPPM and ABPS , we have the knowledge base , and experience, to offer all the various options of care for your condition. When you have a choice, you should feel comfortable to know that you are not steered to one choice simply because that is all that healthcare provider can offer. Based on our patient assessment, and your input for choice , and the review of your current medications and health status findings, the safe use of topical medications, oral short term ( 12 week ) antifungal prescription pills, or in some cases, in office surgical removal ( ablation of the growing plate ) can also be offered .