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Toenail fungus from a Podiatrist point of view

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What is toenail fungus?

Toenail fungus or onychomycosis is a problem caused by dermophytes fungi. This group of fungi thrives on skin and keratin. They rich under the name and then start growing and damage the nail and discolour it to make it white, brown or yellow. As a result of this infection, the nail will become thickened, harden, brittle and may fall off. It is easy to pick up nail fungus from different places such as shower, locker room and swimming pools. People who have underlying health problems like diabetes, immune deficiency and circulatory issues are more likely to catch this problem.

It is a problem which needs time to cure. It is very difficult to cure and the treatment may go on several weeks and months.

A full medical history

A full medical history of the patient will help. Podiatrists say that a full medical history is essential to devise the best treatment option. It is important to know how long the patient has been suffering from it and what are the treatments applied before. Then it will help the podiatrist to understand the extent of the problem. If there are some other medical problems the patient is suffering from, that can change the choice of treatment. The full medical history will also help in deciding about the oral medication which is the first line of defence. If you, as a patient, have certain underling health issues, oral medication may create some side effects. If the doctor knows about it, it will be easier for him/her to prescribe something which will cure the problem without any side effects for you.

Physical exam

When the podiatrist knows about the medical history, he/she may start a physical exam. The physical exam is very much necessary to find out the quality of the problem. The podiatrist will perform the physical exam to find out if it is thick, whether it smell is not, the colour, whether it is flaky or not, the location of the problem, whether it is at the base of the nail or tip of the nail, whether it is superficial or not, whether it is white, yellow or green black. All these and says will come from physical exam and this physical exam will ensure better treatment for the patient.

Lab analysis

Simply performing a physical examination and at the toenail may not be enough for the podiatrist to diagnose the problem. It is difficult to say whether it's an infection of fungus, mould or yeast just by looking at the problem. In that case, the sample of the nail is to be sent to the laboratory for a proper analysis, which will be more accurate. For prescribing the best treatment option such analyses is very important. Once the problem is correctly identified, the podiatrist can find the best solutions and give the patient a prescription for faster results.

Oral treatments

There are many oral treatments available which will help you to treat toenail fungus. Some of the oral antifungal treatments available include Lamisil (terbinafine), Diflucan (fluconazole) or Sporanox (itraconazole) etc. Such medicines may take about three months to work. Some of the medicines may have some side effects that include stomach upset, skin problems, dizziness and liver damage. Most of the medicines are expensive and you should be careful because liver problem is a well-known side-effect of such medicines. Many of the medicines may stay in your system even after six months after you stop using them.



1. Fungus Key Pro
2. Fungal Nail Infections
3. Onychomycosis (Toenail Fungus)