Have you noticed your toenails aren't looking as healthy as they used to? Are you too embarrassed to slip on summer sandals for worry others will see your chipped and discolored nails? Perhaps there is something else going on.
You'll be glad to know you're not on your own. Toenail fungus is actually a pretty common infection prevalent among young and older adults, but the good news is that it's treatable. Toenail fungus often goes unnoticed, and we’d like to help you understand the condition and know when it's time to seek an opinion from a toenail fungus doctor.
Fungal nail infections are often caused by many different fungi (yeasts or molds) in the environment. These fungi don't typically cause a problem until we injure and break our skin and nails. When this happens, the small cracks in your nail or the surrounding skin can allow these fungi to enter and cause an infection.
Dr. Yeargain and Dr. Agyen specialize in diagnosing and treating toenail fungus, a condition we have been treating daily for more than a decade. If you're experiencing this condition, Dr. Yeargain or Dr. Agyen, our toenail fungus doctors, will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan that suits your needs. We'll help you determine the best approach to treating your condition and can provide the equipment and medication necessary to put you on the road to complete recovery without surgery.
Above all else, as a nail doctor, Dr. Yeargain wants you to know that toenail fungus is not a condition you have to live with. It is treatable, and he expects full resolution after treatment. The earlier the problem is caught, the quicker the solution, so make an appointment for consultation and diagnosis today.
- What is toenail fungus?
- Why does toenail fungus occur?
- What does toenail fungus look and feel like?
- How is toenail fungus diagnosed?
- Is it contagious?
- Can toenail fungus be prevented?
- Are there any at-home remedies?
- What treatments does Yeargain Foot & Ankle offer for relief?
- What is YF&A’s treatment process?
- How long is the recovery time from toenail fungus?
- Will insurance cover treatment for toenail fungus?
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT TOENAIL FUNGUS
What is toenail fungus?
It is a common infection that goes by the name of 'onychomycosis.' It can cause your nail to become painful, discolored yellow or brown, thick, and more likely to crack and break. They also seem irregular in appearance compared to your other nails.
Why does toenail fungus occur?
Fungal nail infections are often caused by microorganisms such as yeasts or molds that live in the environment. These microorganisms don't typically cause a problem until we injure and break down the perfect barrier to the outside world: our skin and nails. When this happens, the small cracks in your nail or the surrounding skin can allow these fungi to enter and cause an infection.
Infection can spread from person to person and are most likely to affect toenails rather than fingernails due to the moist, warm conditions of socks and shoes. Other factors that can lead to toenail fungus are nail deformities, diabetes, or a weakened immune system.
What does toenail fungus look and feel like?
Most often, you will see a change in your toenail's appearance. It will start to change color to a yellow, white, or even brown color. Sometimes it will change shape, lifting and breaking easily. You may also notice that your toenail grows much thicker. It is not typical to feel any pain associated with toenail fungus.
How is toenail fungus diagnosed?
A nail doctor will quickly diagnose toenail fungus after a physical examination. If you notice any of the symptoms, it's time to make an appointment with the professionals.
Is it contagious?
Toenail fungus is most certainly contagious. You can pass it to other parts of your own body, like adjacent nails, feet, hands, and you can also give it to others that you come in contact with – most likely, family members who share a shower or bath, or even those at the gym.
Can toenail fungus be prevented?
There are a couple of things you can do to keep your toenails fungus-free. Since the leading cause is the damp environment, try and avoid moisture accumulation as much as you can. That means using foot powder or an antifungal spray in your shoes. And air them out regularly.
Wash and dry your feet regularly, and keep your toenails trimmed short to avoid kicking and breaking them.
Also, make a note not to walk barefoot in locker rooms or public showers where this kind of foot fungus thrives.
Are there any at-home remedies?
You can try applying topical antifungal nail medication to the nails daily and filing the nails weekly. If you are not seeing improvement within a few weeks, you should come to see us at Yeargain Foot & Ankle. Other popular at-home remedies that may show some improvement include Vicks vapor rub or tea tree oil. Always seek an opinion from a medical professional before starting any of these treatments.
What treatments does Yeargain Foot & Ankle offer for relief?
Unfortunately, topical treatment alone will only work about 15% of the time, so seeking a nail doctor for help is essential. If necessary, we can prescribe oral antifungal medication to clear the fungus from your body and help the nail grow free of infection. At YF&A, our toenail fungus doctor will order any necessary testing that might be required to confirm your diagnosis by performing a pain-free nail biopsy, and we carry a line of cosmetic dermatology products. These products are the best on the market for treating your nail fungus and getting you back to beautiful, clear feet that will be sandal-ready in no time.
What is YF&A’s treatment process?
Your toenail fungus doctor will start by performing a painless nail biopsy to confirm your diagnosis. Next, depending on the severity of your case, we will start with oral, topical, or oftentimes a combination of oral and topical medications.
We will also focus on prevention, including shoe sprays, powders, and moisture control, so that this won't ever come back again! Everything you need will be available right in our office on the first day of your visit, so you won't have to run around town trying to find all of the items on your list.
Typically you will come and see the nail doctor every two months for a checkup and a nail trim until your nails are clean and clear.
How long is the recovery time from toenail fungus?
You will start seeing improvement immediately upon starting your treatment protocol. But remember, everyone heals at a different rate, and it can take anything from a few weeks to a few months to eradicate an underlying infection. And once the infection is cured, your nail is still damaged. You'll then have to wait for it to grow out naturally, which can take about nine months.
Will insurance cover treatment for toenail fungus?
Health insurance covers most treatments for toenail fungus. Some insurance companies will even cover custom or over-the-counter orthotics. The Yeargain Foot & Ankle team can answer any questions you might have about insurance coverage and work with your insurance company to help you get the treatment you need. Typically, all x-rays, injections, and medications used to treat toenail fungus are covered by insurance.