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How To Know If You Have Toenail Fungus

How Aggressive Is Subungual Melanoma

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

The key points to remember for subungual melanoma are: It has the same histopathological process as cutaneous malignant melanoma. Some studies suggest it is more aggressive than cutaneous malignant melanoma, but this is likely due to late presentation. It should be diagnosed using excision or an incision biopsy.

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The Earliest Signs Of A Fungal Toenail Infection

The initial signs of toenail fungus are very subtle. They might not even register as a potential infection at all unless you know what youre looking for.

The earliest signs include:

  • Unusual white or yellow streaks or spots in the nail
  • Crumbling along the edges or tips of the nail, particularly where its discolored
  • Flaking of the nail in certain areas
  • Increasing distortion of nail shape
  • Potentially more noticeable foot odor

The spots and streaks can be a particularly tricky symptom, as such marks can appear when you have bumped your toe against something as well.

The best way to tell the difference between nail trauma and a fungal infection is to keep an eye on the marks for a while. Marks from a nail injury will eventually fade or grow out as the nail does. Spots and streaks from a fungal infection, however, will gradually change shape and grow.

If you are uncertain of your symptoms, it is never a bad idea to err on the side of caution and have them checked out anyway. Even if it doesnt turn out to be a fungal infection, youll at least have the peace of mind of knowing.

Tips To Prevent Fungal Nail Infections

Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent a fungal infection of the nails. Taking good care of your nails by keeping them well trimmed and clean is a good way to prevent infections.

Also avoid injuring the skin around your nails. If youre going to have damp or wet hands for an extended amount of time, you may want to wear rubber gloves.

Other ways to prevent fungal infections of the nails include:

  • washing your hands after touching infected nails
  • drying your feet well after showering, especially between your toes
  • getting manicures or pedicures from trustworthy salons
  • avoiding being barefoot in public places
  • reducing your use of artificial nails and nail polish

Products to help you avoid nail fungus

If youre prone to excessive moisture around your fingernails or toenails, consider buying:

With fungal nail infections, the main cause is typically

  • molds

Certain behaviors and preexisting conditions that can affect your risk of nail fungus include:

  • old age

There are many overlaps between nail fungus and nail cancer. Since its easy to mistake cancer of the nail for a fungal infection, you should see a doctor immediately to get a definitive diagnosis.

See a doctor immediately if you suspect you have toenail fungus or subungual melanoma.

Since the prognosis of subungual melanoma gets worse the longer it takes to diagnose, its better to be safe and get any possible symptoms checked out and cleared as soon as they appear.

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A Pharmacist Can Help With Fungal Nail Infections

Speak to a pharmacist if the look of your nail bothers you or it’s painful.

They may suggest:

  • antifungal nail cream it can take up to 12 months to cure the infection and does not always work
  • nail-softening cream it’s used for 2 weeks to soften the nail so the infected part can be scraped off

The infection is cured when you see healthy nail growing back at the base.

What Tests Might I Have For Toenail Fungus

How to Tell if You Have a Toenail Fungus

Your provider will probably take a small sample from underneath your nail to further analyze it. Viewing the cells under a microscope can confirm a toenail fungus diagnosis. If the initial test is negative, a scraping can be sent to see if the fungus grows out in a culture. It also helps your provider identify the type of fungus.

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If You Have Toenail Fungus Under Your Nails Remember

Once your diagnosis is confirmed, you have several options available to deal with it. You and your podiatrist can decide on the best course for you: anti-fungal pills, medicated nail polish, and/or laser therapy. The reason I prefer laser procedures is that theyre very safe and effective at improving the look of unsightly nails due to fungal infections.

Regardless of which method you use, for lasting results, its important that you follow-through with proper foot hygiene to reduce the risk of getting it again.

Im Dr. Kelly Geoghan, DPM, Board Certified Surgeon and Aesthetic Podiatry Specialist. If youre in the Baltimore area, contact me for an appointment for your personalized plan for flawless feet at:

  • Lutherville: 753-4422
  • Dundalk: 753-4422

How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Nail Fungus

To find out if a patient has nail fungus, a dermatologist examines your nails and nearby skin. Its important to check the skin because the fungus can spread. You may already have a skin infection caused by fungus like athletes foot.

To get rid of the infection, you will need to treat all infected areas.

Before giving you the diagnosis, your dermatologist may also take some samples. Collecting a bit of debris from beneath a nail, trimming off part your nail, or scraping off a bit of skin can be very helpful. In a lab, these samples can be examined under a microscope to find out whats causing the problem.

Are you hiding an infected nail with nail polish?

Be sure to ask your dermatologist if you can wear nail polish while treating nail fungus.

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Get Rid Of Your Toenail Fungus Asap

Whether you are seeing early signs of a fungal toenail infection or your toes are already deep in the thick of it, there is no reason to wait any more to receive the treatment you need.

The longer an infection goes unaddressed, the firmer a hold it will have within the nail and the more challenging it will be to treat. We are still up to that challenge, of course, but we would rather save our patients as much time and effort as possible!

Our team at Family Foot Care & Surgery will carefully examine your case and provide our best recommendations for a course of action. The sooner the fungus is destroyed, the sooner your nails can heal, and the better you can avoid more substantial damage.

Call our offices in Milford, or Hamden, , to schedule an appointment with us, or fill out our online contact form if you prefer to reach us electronically instead.

Know It May Have To Be Permanent

How do I know if nail fungus is dead?

At this point, if he or she has not discussed this with you earlier, the doctor may recommend that you have the nail permanently prevented from growing back. This is only done in severe cases of fungus or other disorders where the problem would simply keep occurring if the nail grew back.

To do this, the doctor must destroy the nail matrix, which is the part of the toe that produces keratin, the element that toenails are made of.

The matrix can be dissolved chemically, which is the most common. This is called chemical cauterization, and involves the application of a chemical called phenol. Occasionally, some patients report their nails growing back, but generally this method is effective.

If this does not work, your doctor will perform a surgical matrixectomy. A flap of skin is surgically created at the base of the nail, where the matrix is located. After retracting the flap, the matrix is surgically removed.

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The Danger Of Waiting To Treat The Fungus

The greatest danger of not treating the foot or toenail fungus is that it can spread to other parts of the body, such as the hands and groin.

If for some reason you cant treat your toenails or your feet right away, at least use an antifungal topical cream on the surrounding skin, Dr. Ng says. That will help keep it from spreading and keep the skin intact.

Symptoms Of Fungal Nails

The good news is that if you catch it early enough, it can be fairly easy to eradicate toenail fungus and save your nails from further damage.

So how do you catch it in the early stages?

Well, inspecting your nails every day is the first step. Especially because toenail fungus can be present a very long time without causing noticeable symptoms.

Here are things you should look for when you examine your nails:

  • Darkening or discoloration of the affected nail
  • White or discolored spots that arent from an injury
  • Thickening or distortion of the nail
  • Unusual white or yellow streaks in your nail
  • Crumbling along the edges or tips of the nail, particularly where its discolored
  • Redness and swelling
  • Foul odor emitting from the nail
  • Pain when walking or wearing shoes
  • The nail starts to separate from the nail bed

If you notice one or more of these symptoms in your toenails, dont wait for them to go away on their own the infection will most likely continue to grow and spread .

Instead, get them diagnosed right away so the fungus can be eliminated quickly and before it causes visible damage to your nail.

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How To Tell If You Have Toenail Fungus And What To Do About It

Toenail fungus. It’s embarrassing, an eyesore, and it could potentially be a sign of an underlying health issue.

However, toenail fungus isn’t always easy to identify. There are many types of toenail fungi that can all appear differently on your nails. Other times, people who think they have toenail fungus actually don’tit’s something else entirely.

Are you unsure of how to tell if you have toenail fungus or not? In this post, we’re going to explain how to identify toenail fungus and what to do if you’ve got it. Read along to learn more!

Yeargain Foot & Ankles Treatment Process

Foot and Ankle Problems By Dr. Richard Blake: Toenail ...

Since toenails take about nine months to grow, nail fungus treatment is often an extended process. So if your nail is fully involved, it may take the entire nine months until you are completely clear of the fungus.

  • We 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 many times a combination of oral and topical medications.
  • We will also focus on prevention, including shoe sprays, powders, and moisture control, so that this wont ever come back again!
  • Everything you need will be available right in our office on the first day of your visit, so you wont have to run around town trying to find all of the items on your list.
  • You will start seeing improvement immediately upon starting your treatment protocol. But remember, it may be a nine-month process until you are 100% clear.
  • Typically you will come and see the doctors every two months for a checkup and a nail trim until your nails are clean and clear!

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What Is Fungal Infection

Fungal infections can affect anyone, and they can appear on several parts of the body. A jock with athletes foot, a baby with thrush, and a woman with a vaginal yeast infection are just a few examples.

Fungi are microorganisms characterized by a substance in their cell walls called chitin. Some fungi, like many types of mushrooms, are edible. Other types of fungi, like aspergillus, can be extremely dangerous and lead to life-threatening diseases.

Different types of fungi can cause fungal infections. In some cases, fungi that arent typically found on or inside your body can colonize it and cause an infection. In other cases, fungi that are normally present on or inside your body can multiply out of control and cause an infection.

Fungal infections can be contagious. They can spread from one person to another. In some cases, you can also catch disease-causing fungi from infected animals or contaminated soil or surfaces.

If you develop signs or symptoms of a fungal infection, make an appointment with your doctor.

Will A Podiatrist Treat Toenail Fungus

Fungal infections in the toenail are relatively common, causing foul smells and unsightly appearances around the nail plate. If you recognize the symptoms of toenail fungus, you must meet with the right doctor, a podiatrist, for proper treatment.

Podiatrists will treat toenail fungus by using topical creams, removing part of the nail, and or using more modern methods like laser therapy to eliminate the infection. At Arizona Foot Doctors, our podiatrists conduct a thorough evaluation of your nail before starting treatment to better understand the infections origin, possible underlying conditions, and to create a treatment approach that best fits your needs and lifestyle.

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See A Dermatologist To Pinpoint The Problem

Foot fungus wont just go away on its own, Dr. Ng says. If you think you have foot or toenail fungus, see your dermatologist, she says. There are several tests that your dermatologist can perform to identify exactly whats going on.

Its important to be aware that there are other diseases which can cause nail changes, she says. For example, we do see things like squamous cell skin cancers in the nail beds and even melanomas, which have a brownish or blackish discoloration.

Diagnosing And Treating Toenail Changes

How to tell a bruise under the toenail from toenail fungus

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

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What Does Fungus Look Like

Toenail fungus usually starts off as a small white or yellowish spot near the tip of the nail.

As the fungal infection spreads and goes deeper into the nail, it causes the nail to discolor and become opaque. The nail thickens and eventually crumbles at the edges.

Nail fungus varies from white to yellow and can sometimes appear brown.

Regardless of the color of your fungi, it will be sort of splotchy looking rather than one uniform color.

The progression of the color of bruising will happen in a matter of days from dark red to black, as opposed to nail fungus which starts off white or yellowish and may eventually turn brown after weeks or months.

Nail fungus will make the nail look dull as the fungus starts to separate the keratin in the nail plate and it becomes opaque.

What Is The Outlook For Someone With Toenail Fungus

While toenail fungus is common, its usually not harmful. Symptoms mostly affect the look of your toenail.

Toenail fungus may spread to the skin between your toes or other areas of your body. When getting dressed, put your socks on first to reduce the chance of spread.

Treating toenail fungus takes a long time, and it doesnt always work. Even then, toenail fungus often returns. Discuss the pros and cons of treating toenail fungus with your provider to determine whats best for you.

Practicing good hygiene and foot care reduces the chance toenail fungus will come back. If you have diabetes, getting regular foot exams may help you address foot problems before they get serious.

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Tips To Combat Foot Fungus

The best way to combat foot fungus is to reduce your exposure to it. There are simple things you can do to prevent from contracting foot and nail fungus.

  • Wash and dry your feet well after exercising. Be sure to get between your toes.
  • If you use a communal area such as a shower at your gym or the local pool, wear waterproof shoes such as flip-flops to ensure your feet dont come into contact with contaminated surfaces.
  • If you suspect a case of athletes foot is brewing, treat it right away with over-the-counter creams mentioned above.
  • Because athletes foot and toenail fungus thrives in dark, damp environments, wear shoes that breathe and dont trap sweat inside of them, and change your socks often. Invest in some socks that wick moisture away from your skin.
  • Be sure to protect your feet at home if someone has a foot infection.
  • On My First Visit Dr Patel Diagnosed The Problem As Plantar Fasciitis And Began Treatment

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    I was dealing with nearly unbearable pain in my left foot. I was barely able to get through each day. I was sure my neuropathy was the problem. I went to a local podiatrist who told me the only problem I had was the neuropathy in my feet and I needed to see a neurologist. After conferring with my family doctor he referred me to Dr. Sanjay Patel.

    On my first visit, Dr. Patel diagnosed the problem as Plantar Fasciitis and began treatment. After following Dr. Patels advice I no longer have pain in my left foot.

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