Fungal toenails not only look unsightly, but can be painful and may lead to more serious bacterial infections, especially if you’re circulation is compromised. The board-certified podiatrists at City Podiatry in New York City can isolate the specific fungus causing your problem and create a customized treatment plan to cure the infection. They also use the cosmetic treatment KeryFlexⓇ to disguise the affected nail with a natural-looking temporary replacement. To find out more, call the Midtown Manhattan office or schedule an appointment online today.

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What are fungal toenails?

Fungal toenails develop from infection with fungal microorganisms. The fungus attacks the toenail where the cuticle grows, and as the infection spreads, it makes the nail look thickened and yellow, and can also be painful. Fungal infections are often picked up at public places where people walk barefoot, such as swimming pools and locker rooms.

Feet are prone to infection with fungus because the warm, moist, dark environment in your shoes provide the ideal breeding ground for fungal growth.

Do I need to worry about a fungal toenail?

In general, fungal toenails aren’t a serious problem if you’re otherwise healthy. However, they can be a significant risk for people with diabetes or circulatory disorders because of the increased susceptibility these patients have to bacterial infection.

Fungal infections that compromise the nail and soft tissues cause damage that allows bacteria to enter, leading to potentially severe infections. People with diabetes or impaired circulation should always consult their podiatrist if they have symptoms of fungal toenails.

How is toenail fungus diagnosed?

You can’t tell by looking at a toenail whether the cause of the discoloration is fungal. Several other health conditions can cause similar symptoms, including:

  • Traumatic injury
  • Psoriasis
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Flat feet

It’s important to get the correct diagnosis if you have symptoms of nail fungus so you can receive the right treatment.

The first step is to send a sample of your toenail to the lab for testing. Once your podiatrist at City Podiatry knows which strain of fungus is causing your symptoms, or rules out fungal infection as a cause, they can identify the most suitable treatment approach. The podiatric team also uses genetic testing to enable customized treatment for fungal toenails.

What treatments are available for fungal toenails?

Treatment options for fungal toenails include:

  • Topical antifungal medication
  • Oral antifungal medication
  • Laser therapy
  • Topical keratolytic medication

The team at City Podiatry uses Aerolase® laser technology to penetrate the nail and kill the fungus, a safe treatment option with minimal side effects.

City Podiatry also offers a cosmetic solution to improve the appearance of nails affected by fungus. Keryflex is a temporary medicated nail extension that’s bonded to your real nail and grows with it, looking like a natural, healthy nail.

After your treatment program finishes, your nail still has to grow out and be replaced by new, healthy growth. Full regrowth of the nail can take a year or more.

If you’ve noticed discoloration or thickening of your toenail, don’t wait to see what happens. Call City Podiatry or schedule an appointment online today.