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How Do I Know If I Have Nail Fungus

Orthopedic Doctors For Foot Care

How do I know if I have toenail fungus and what to do

Many people dont realize just how vital proper foot care really is until they have an infection thats difficult to treat. The medical professionals at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence realize how important caring for each and every part of the body is to maintaining the body in top condition.

We are an Official Orthopaedic Medicine Provider of the Olympics as an Olympic Training Center. We achieved this designation because our team is specially trained in treating sports injuries, including issues involving the feet, muscles, and joints.

Our team offers top-notch medical care and state-of-the-art techniques and technologies diagnosing and treating professional athletes and amateurs alike right here in Colorado Springs.

Call us today at to schedule an appointment, or fill out our simple online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you get back on your feet again!

Bruised Toenail Or Fungus

One of the sure-fire ways to tell if its just a bruise or toenail fungus is if its spreading. The area of discoloration will not get bigger if its a bruise.

Another way to differentiate between nail fungus and a bruise is to watch how it moves as your nail grows.

Nail fungus starts at the tip of the nail and spreads toward the base of the nail. Because your nails grow from the base of the nail up, it sort of looks like its not moving because the fungus is spreading in the opposite direction than the nail is growing.

A bruise on the other hand, can start anywhere on the nail, depending on where the trauma happened. As your nail grows out, the bruise will move up with the growing nail, toward the tip of the nail.

But unless you plan to sit there with your foot under a film camera for the next few weeks and watch it back on timelapse video, it can be hard to tell because toenails grow so slowly.

The average toenail grows only 1.6mm per month, so any moving your bruise or fungus will be doing is not something you can watch with the naked eye.

One thing you can do is take a zoomed-in, close-up picture of your toe. Then take a picture a month later and note the distance of the discoloration from the base of the nail in the second photo compared to the first.

If theres a bigger distance between the base of the nail and the discoloration from the first photo, then you know that you have a bruise and not toenail fungus.

Can I Wear Nail Polish If I Have Toenail Fungus

You may feel tempted to cover up a discolored toenail with nail polish. If you are using a topical antifungal, you probably should not use polish. Some providers may tell you not to wear it in any case. Polish traps in moisture from the nailbed . Because fungi thrive in moist environments, wearing nail polish may make a fungal infection worse. However, the nail continues to grow with or without polish.

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Warning Signs Of Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus is an unsightly and embarrassing infection that is contagious and often difficult to get rid of. And while some of you may have a mild case and barely even notice the fungal growth at all, others actually suffer from intense pain as their infection grows and spreads.

When patients visit our office looking to relieve pain caused by toenail fungus, they are usually finally doing something about the infection after months or even years! of ignoring the condition and allowing it to thrive.

Waiting to seek treatment they soon find is a huge mistake!

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Whenever you have an infection, you shouldnt wait to seek medical care the sooner you get the care you need, the quicker and more effective treatments will be.

Its like the old saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. And this is true when it comes to toenail fungus looking for symptoms of this pesky condition before they become a problem will help you make the most of treatment opportunities and minimize complications.

The bottom line is that the more you allow fungus to grow and spread under your nail, the more difficult it will be to actually get rid of it. So staying aware of symptoms and catching them early can really make a huge difference for your recovery.

And of course, if you want to catch it early, you need to know what to exactly look for thats why we are here!

Is It Toenail Fungus Or Something Else

How Do I Know Whether I Have Nail Fungus or Nail Psoriasis ...

Odd-looking toenail? It may be a fungal infection, but there’s a good chance that another condition could be to blame.

If you notice an odd spot on your toenail, you might assume its a fungal infection. However, theres a good chance that its not.

Spots or discolorations on or under a toenail could be bruises resulting from trauma to the nail, blood blisters, warts, or even subungual melanoma, a type of skin cancer, says Ami Sheth, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Los Gatos, California, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Since nail irregularities can be caused by diseases besides these as well, its best to get it looked at, says Dr. Sheth.

Richard Goad, a doctor of podiatric medicine at Baylor Scott & White Health in Waco, Texas, concurs. Sometimes the nail will be the first place to show another underlying problem, Dr. Goad says.

So is it a fungus, a false alarm, or another condition entirely?

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What Is Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus is an infection that gets in through cracks in your nail or cuts in your skin. It can make your toenail change color or get thicker. It can also hurt. Because toes are often warm and damp, fungus grows well there. Different kinds of fungi and sometimes yeast affect different parts of the nail. Left untreated, an infection could spread to other toenails, skin, or even your fingernails.

What Are The Signs Of Nail Fungus

If you get nail fungus, youre likely to see one or more of the following changes to your nails:

  • Part of a nail turns white, yellow, brown, or another color. At first, you may just see a spot of discoloration at the tip of your nail. Without treatment, this discoloration may spread, covering more of the nail.

  • Debris builds up under the nail.

  • A nail begins to lift up, so its no longer firmly attached to the finger or toe.

  • A nail turns white, and the surface of the nail may feel soft, dry, and powdery. The nail also thins, so you may be able to scrape off the nail.

  • Nails thicken and turn yellow or brown, often this affects all of the fingernails.

  • A nail splits or crumbles.

Treatment is important

Without treatment, the fungus can spread and damage more nails.

Having nail fungus is usually painless. At least, its painless in the beginning. However, if you put off getting treatment, the fungus can grow. When the fungus worsens on toenails, wearing shoes can become painful.

If you see any changes to a nail, you should see a board-certified dermatologist. When caught early, nail fungus may clear with treatment applied to the nail. As the fungus grows, it becomes more difficult to clear the infection.

ImagesImages 1,2, and 3 used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 70:918-23.

Image 4 used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

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Ugh How Did I Get Scalp Fungus

Sometimes a scalp infection forms on its own because of the conditions on your scalp. Medications, cleanliness, weather, and other elements can all play a role in scalp health. However, scalp fungus can also be spread through outside sources.

Ringworm, or scalp fungus, spread from person to person through touch or sharing towels. It can also spread via animals, as dogs and cats sometimes have fungal infections on their skin. It primarily affects children. The fungi spores can stay alive for a really long time and spread from hairbrushes and even furniture. It is even possible to get fungus because the spores were floating in the air and then landed on your head! Although it is really easy to catch a scalp fungus, it does not affect all people. Some are just carriers of the spores and pass them on to others.

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How Do I Know If My Toenail Fungus Has Cleared Up

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Take Care Of Your Toes

Use soap and water to wash your feet, and dry well, including between toes. Trim your toenails — straight across — to keep them shorter than the end of your toe. Make sure the tools you use are clean, too. Wash clippers and files with soap and water, then wipe with rubbing alcohol. You might be tempted to cover up discolored nails with polish, but don’t. Your nail bed can’t “breathe,” which keeps fungus from going away.

What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Toenail Fungus

Understanding the Symptoms: How do I know I have Toenail ...

If you have toenail fungus, you may find it helpful to ask your provider:

  • What type of infection do I have?
  • Do you recommend I treat it? Why or why not?
  • How long will I need treatment?
  • What steps can I take to stop it from coming back?
  • Should I be aware of any potentially serious complications or treatment side effects?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Toenail fungus is an incredibly common infection that can be difficult to treat. The condition usually isnt painful, but it may make you feel self-conscious about how your foot looks. If it bothers you, talk to your provider about your treatment options. A trained specialist can provide guidance on whats most likely to address your concerns while protecting your overall health.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.

References

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How To Tell If I Have Foot Fungus

Foot fungus occurs, especially in hot weather or in places with high humidity. There are several types of fungi, among which are athletes foot and onychomycosis . Both are caused by a parasite called ‘dermatophytes’, more commonly known as ‘Trichophyton rubrum’ fungus that invades the foot and multiplies. This type of fungi is commonly found in public places with high humidity or heat, such as gym locker rooms, public pools, public showers, etc. So you can quickly identify such ailments and get straight to your doctor, in this OneHowTo.com article we show you how to tell if you have foot fungus.

Foot fungus can spread to other parts of the body, as well as to other people as it is an infectious disease. But that isn’t the only way to catch it, fungi resides in the environment so that you can become infected simply by stepping on infected ground.

Onicomicosisn is the most common condition and also the most difficult to cure. To know whether you have nail fungus you must look at the colour and texture of them. Nails affected by fungi tend to change colour to a more yellowish hue, during the first days, which will darken to become black if not treated and eliminated. Fungi are found under the nail, therefore, infected nails begin to also change their appearance and texture and become corroded, pitted and have a worn appearance. Here is an article that details how to cure nail fungus.

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Diagnosing And Treating Toenail Changes

If you notice changes in the appearance of your toenails, see a doctor promptly. If a fungal infection is suspected, a sample of the nail can be taken and analyzed by a lab to make a diagnosis. If the test comes back positive, an oral or topical antifungal medication may be prescribed to treat the fungus. Most antifungal medications are effective against most forms of toenail fungus, although treatment can take some time, in part because its hard to deliver any type of medication through the nail plate to the skin under the nail.

Most of the time, the treatment requires the whole nail to grow out, which can take up to a year, says Sheth. Treatment needs to be consistent and long-term if it has any chance of working.

If the test comes back negative for fungus, your doctor may begin investigating other causes for the abnormal appearance of your toenails. Sometimes symptoms involving other parts of the body help point to a diagnosis.

People with yellow nail syndrome, for example, may experience leg swelling or breathing problems. Those with alopecia could see their hair begin to fall out.

And, according to Goad, With psoriasis, patches of red, scaly skin may be seen on the knees, elbows, and face, too. Its usually not limited to just the toenails.

Additional reporting by Susan Jara

What If I Have Later Stages Of Toenail Fungus

If I have toenail fungus and love pedicures, what do I do?

If your nails have already reached the thick, crumbly, majorly discolored stage, dont fret. Your case is not hopeless!

Toenail fungus can actually be quite complex, but our experts will take the time to carefully examine your condition, assess both the type and severity of the disease, and then recommend a precisely tailored treatment plan we feel will give you the optimal chance of clearing the fungus. One particular treatment method were particularly proud to be able to offer is laser treatment.

Laser treatment is able to pass through nail tissue and hit a fungal infection right at the source. Topical medications, on the other hand, can have more trouble reaching the underlying infection. And oral anti-fungal medications, while able to treat the problem from the inside out, can sometimes come with side effects that dont make them recommended for certain patients.

A course of laser treatment typically requires 3-4 sessions spaced out over a period of weeks or months, depending on the severity of the condition. These sessions dont cause any burning and rarely cause any pain most patients will feel a warming sensation and nothing more.

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I Would Highly Recommend This Doctor For Any And All Foot Issues

Prior to having my bunion removed , boy was I nervous. But to tell the truth, Dr. Patel put me at ease with everything from start to finish. My foot healed exactly as he said, and I wondered why I put it off so long. Susans nurse/office staff took care of all the paperwork and working with my insurance always on hand to assist with all my questions.

When the time came for my other foot, well it was a no-brainer. Dr. Patel is my only choice! I would highly recommend this doctor for any and all foot issuesnothing to be afraid of -take care of those feet.Sincerely,

Donna C. Hamden. CT

How Do You Know If Your Nail Fungus Is Cleared Up

Anyone is at risk for a toenail fungal infectionit simply takes being exposed in the right kind of environment. Going barefoot in a warm, damp place such as a public locker or shower room, for example, is one way to pick up this type of infection. When it invades and grows under the nail, it causes the nail to become discolored, thickened, and brittle. Fortunately, we have many methods of treatment including topical ointments, oral medications, and the Q Clear Laser that can eradicate the problem.

Nail fungus can be resistant to treatment and nails take a long time to grow out, so it can take several weeks or months for an infection to be fully resolved. You will know that the treatment is working and the infection is clearing up when you see growth of a new, healthy nail from the base of the nail bed. You can work at slowly trimming off the old, infected nail as the new one grows in.

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