Written by Debby Jun 17 2015
A yellow, discoloured and thickened toenail could mean that you have a fungal infection (onychomycosis). More than simply a cosmetic problem, a thickened and discoloured fungal nail can lead to pressure on the nail bed and discomfort when wearing shoes. It is also a constant source of fungus which will continue to re-infect the skin of the foot and in severe cases it can lead to cellulitis, a bacterial infection of the skin.
So what causes this unpleasant condition? Fungus thrives in the hot sweaty conditions we subject our feet to on a daily basis. It is highly contagious and easily caught from shared shower facilities eg swimming pools or gyms.
Can I self treat? There are topical products available from the chemist and in very mild cases of onychomycosis, these might be effective, however because the fungus usually lives in the nail bed it is difficult to reach and so painting a nail with solution will be unlikely to help. Oral medication from your GP has risk factors attached to it andliver function tests are usually required.
A new Low Level Laser treatment is now available at our clinic in Chinnor, which has had a 95% success rate in clinical trials last year. Treatments are quick, painless and have no reported side effects. Fungal nail infections are so common and many patients are embarrassed and self-conscious. At The Luxton Clinic we have treated many patients with onychomycosis so please don’t worry about coming to see us. There are also other causes that can lead to a thickened nail, trauma for example.
What can I do to prevent fungal nail infection?
Wear cotton socks and breathable shoes; use flip flops or crocs in shared shower settings; if you have Diabetes, check your feet regularly and visit your podiatrist for an annual check up.
For more information on prices and treatment please look at the website www.thelasernailcentre.co.uk