How to Deal With Toenail Fungus

What's the big deal about a couple of yellow, thick toenails? Well, this fungal infection of the nail bed and surrounding skin of the toes oftenToenail Fungus causes discomfort and embarrassment about how your feet look. If you suspect you have toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, contact your foot doctor, Dr. Michael Guerra. He offers several great treatment options, including laser treatment for nail fungus, in his South Burlington, VT, podiatry practice.

The symptoms of toenail fungus

Besides yellow (or brown or black), thickened nails, onychomycosis causes toenails to be brittle, flaky and even odor-producing. In addition, the area surrounding the nail often itches, swells a bit and becomes pink to red. While symptoms may be simply bothersome physically, they frequently embarrass the sufferer, making him or her hide their feet during summertime activities.f

How to deal with it

While toenail fungus won't kill you, it does require deliberate treatment and follow-up. Of the three million sufferers in the US (according to the American Podiatric Medical Association), many experience reinfection or never completely rid themselves of the causative agent.

So Dr. Guerra recommends several ways to combat onychomycosis. They include:

  • Topical medications (creams and ointments)
  • Prescription oral medications
  • Photodynamic therapy

Photodynamic therapy, or laser treatment for toenail fungus in South Burlington, VT, is exceptionally promising. Performed right at  South Burlington Podiatry in just about half an hour, laser treatments actually kill the toenail fungus without harming the nail, nail bed or surrounding skin.

Dr. Guerra uses the Q-clear compact laser system. The handheld instrument delivers a focused beam of light to each toenail, eradicating the microorganism without pain, anesthetic or intense sensation of heat. Patients resume their normal daily activities after treatment. Most patients need two to three treatments to eliminate the fungus.

Preventive measures

You can prevent infection and re-infection with toenail fungus by following these simple self-care measures:

  1. Wash and dry your feet every day.
  2. Inspect your feet daily for cracks or cuts as these allow the fungus to enter your skin and nails.
  3. Wear clean cotton socks and well-ventilated shoes, particularly in warm weather.
  4. Wear shower sandals poolside and in the locker room or shower at the gym.
  5. Trim your toenails straight across, and keep your clippers clean.

Tinea pedis loves to grow in moist, dark environments. So do your best to keep your feet well-aired out.

See your foot doctor

The best way to deal with toenail fungus is to keep ahead of it. If you have symptoms of this common podiatric problem, contact South Burlington Podiatry for an appointment with Dr. Guerra. Call (802) 862-8666.