Toenail fungus can be a very serious issue if not taken seriously, and, unfortunately, foot care is generally ignored or unprioritized. Affiliated Podiatrists in Chicago, IL, realize this is a big problem. "Fungal infections are reported to cause 23% of foot diseases and 50% of nail conditions" according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
More About Toenail Fungus
Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is when a fungus infects the areas between your toes. The fungus starts as a white or yellow spot under the toenail and starts infesting deeper layers of tissue causing discoloration, thickening, and crumbling of nails.
Symptoms generally consist of the description mentioned above in addition to a distorted nail shape and a foul smell. If you're unsure, it's always best to speak with your Chicago, IL, podiatrist.
What are risk factors to keep an eye out for?
- Age is an issue because of reduced blood flow as we grow older, as well as increased exposure to fungi and slower nail growth
- Heavy sweating and history of athlete's foot
- Walking without slippers or flipflops in damp communal areas like gym shower rooms
- Skin or nail injury like psoriasis
- Diseases like diabetes that, like aging, affects circulation
- Compromised immune system
What are some complications?
Severe toenail infections may be painful, permanently damage nails, and spread to other parts of your feet. This becomes a huge problem if you have a disease like diabetes. Medications used by diabetics suppress the immune system making it easier for the fungus to wreak havoc.
What are some preventative measures?
- Wash your hands and feet regularly using lukewarm water and moisturize your nails.
- Trim nails straight across and disinfect nail clippers.
- Wear sweat-absorbing socks and choose well-fitted shoes.
- Use disinfectants or antifungal powders in older shoes to protect feet.
- Wear footwear in damp communal areas.
Do you need to speak with a podiatrist?
Affiliated Podiatrists in Chicago, IL, can help diagnose and treat your foot problems. For more information about a toenail fungus, give them a call at (773) 202-8800.