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Fungal Toenails

Nail fungus is a common infection of the nail. They are not normally serious but can take a long time to treat. Their characteristics often project a change in appearance/colour of the nail and/or thickness.

What are the symptoms?

In most cases, fungal begins as a white or yellow-brown spot under the nail. As the infection prolongs, the nail colour may discolour further, thicken and/or crumble at the edge. Sometimes, the nail fungus can become painful, separate the nail from the nail bed or produce an odour.

Causes:

Dermatophytes are a natural layer of fungi that lives on our skin. However, when provided with the right environment, the fungus can multiply and become an infection; this includes a warm, dark, damp space. When a toenail becomes damaged, often due to ill-fitting shoes or trauma to the area, a component of the nail called keratin dies. This allows access for the fungi to multiply. Fungal infection of the foot, for example Athletes Foot, can spread to the nail and vice versa. Infection can also be contracted from areas where fungi can thrive such as in a communal shower, or inside dark, sweaty, and moist shoes.

Who’s at risk?

Anyone can be at risk of contracting fungal nail(s), if the right environment is provided for them. You’re more likely to get an infection if you wear trainers for a long time and have hot, sweaty feet.

A severe case of nail fungus, or if left untreated, can become painful and cause permanent damage to your nails. It can lead to other, serious infections that spread beyond your feet, especially if you have a lower immunity due to medication, diabetes, or other conditions. As the nail(s) become thick and brittle, it can cause the underlying nail and surrounding area to break down, making shoes and socks uncomfortable due to the pressure applied.

Treatment:

Each treatment for fungal nails is tailored to the individual and the severity of their infection. At the clinic, we have a variety of treatmentoptions available and ointments for purchase so you can keep on top of your foot care regime. In some cases, we may refer you to your GP for oral medication. There is also lots of self-prevention steps you can follow after treatment with us, including keeping your nails clean and dry, choosing breathable footwear and socks, regularly remove nail polish and artificial nails to allow the nail bed to breathe and keeping nails trimmed.

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