Are you noticing that your nails are becoming discoloured, thick and sometimes crumbly looking? You may have a common fungal nail infection (onychomycosis).
How does a fungal nail infection occur?
The fungi can enter via any area that surrounds the edges of the nail and is commonly seen with a fungal skin infection which is known as tinea pedis. The most common way is via repetitive micro-trauma to the nail such as wearing tight fitting footwear. The continual micro-trauma will cause lifting up of the nail plate which allows entry of the fungus to the nail bed and establishes a site of infection. Infection increasingly spreads through the nail and over the entire nail bed/plate by breaking down the keratin in the skin and nail which gives its usual yellow appearance. Communal change areas are big reservoirs for microorganisms to grow and spread.
Treatment for fungal nail infection
Treatment is based on severity of infection where homecare is required and being patient and compliant with the process helps eradicate the fungal infection.
- More severe cases often require going to your GP and getting a prescription for oral antifungal tablets. They are have side effects to your liver, so your GP will advise you whether they would best suit your needs
- We can avulse the nail which means we can completely remove the nail plate from the nail bed and let it grow back, however, you will need to be aware that just because it got removed there is a slight chance it may grow back infected and this needs to be a consideration when this treatment option is discussed with your podiatrist
- Topical antifungal creams to the affected nails, where daily compliance is required and this can be a slow and long process. If you’re on oral tablets as well they can be used in conjunction to help speed up the process of getting a healthy nail.
- Coming into the clinic to get the affected nail reduced in thickness helps with the absorption of the topical creams.
Homecare is imperative for prevention, spread and reoccurrence of fungal infections. Below are our tips:
- Make sure footwear is not occlusive and makes feet sweat Don’t walk barefoot in communal areas
- Wear socks made of natural fibres
- Immerse your feet daily in warm water and vinegar (1 cup) for 10-15 minutes
- Use powders to keep feet dry
- Minimise exposure to pedicures as they could be the source of the infection.
- Wash your feet on a daily basis, dry them thoroughly and make sure to use a separate towel for affected feet.
There are only a few treatments for fungal nail infection treatment, it is more about being compliant with home care advice given by the podiatrist which can help prevent it reoccurring. If you believe you have a nail infection come in to The Footcare Clinic and let one of the podiatrists assess your nails and outline a management plan to get your feet looking lovely and fungal free. You can book an appointment online or call our friendly admin team on (03) 9711 7562 if you have any questions.