Evaluating Toenails and assigning a proper diagnosis is critical for proper treatment and care. Toenail anatomy is interesting because many things can happen to the nail to make it change and cause concern. Although often diagnosed as fungus, a thickened toenail is not always a fungal nail. There are many things that can cause a nail to change color, shape, texture, or growth patterns. A fungal nail may do all of these above things, and ultimately a biopsy is the only sure way to know if the nail is infected. Nails can change shape, color, texture due to trauma, like running or playing sports in short improperly sized shoes, or getting stepped on or “stubbed.” Some trauma may be slow and steady over a period of time with a slow change to the nail or it can happen abruptly which causes a blood blister under the nail and a purple bruised appearance. Traumatized nails may grow out clearly, but can become damaged forever, especially if continually injured. Proper evaluation and good prevention strategies will help with the best chances that all nail problems grow out properly.
Fungus is an organism that is naturally occurring on the skin and around the nails, to a small degree. It is an organism that has specific characteristics under the microscope and sometimes hard to get rid of. Quite often the skin infection called “Athletes Foot” can be present for some time and then the nails become infected. Good proper skin hygiene and awareness is important to get rid of this infection . The skin may have little pinpoint blisters; sometimes there may be some oozing as well in the more acute version. A Toenail infection may be cracked, brown, white, very thick or very thin. Because there can be such a variety of appearances, a thorough evaluation is imperative. Fungal nail or skin treatments are never guaranteed, as these infections can return even with pharmaceutical or Laser intervention, so prevention strategies are very important.
Tips for managing or ridding the SKIN of fungal infections:
- Keep feet dry with proper “wicking” socks (use less than 20% cotton)
- Use powders in the shoe
- Let shoes always air out and completely dry between usage
- Use a antimicrobial commercial spray inside the shoes occasionally
- Treat the skin infections immediately (they don’t always itch!)
- If over the counter creams don’t work, to clear the skin, then a prescription pharmaceutical cream may be necessary.
- Wear sandals or flip flops at health club locker rooms, and or pools
- Wash feet daily
- Consider some immune boosting supplements to fight off the fungal infections, i.e.: homeopathic remedies, probiotics, mushroom complexes
- Disinfect pedicure tools or bring your own set of instruments for pedicures
Treatments for FUNGAL NAIL infections:
- Topical solutions applied everyday for 6-12 months
- Regular cutting and trimming to allow the topical to penetrate
- Bring nail tools to the pedicurist
- Use antifungal nail polish regularly
- Oral medications taken everyday for 3 or more months
- Keep immune system healthy with supplements
- Keryflex cosmetic Nail Restoration
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES:
Antifungal natural nail polishes in an array of beautiful colors, as
well as top and base coats.
These polishes have Tea tree oil, vitamins and Garlic bulb extract (which is a natural antifungal)
- Topical antifungal solutions that can be used daily with little or no side effects
- Non-acetone nail polish removers
- Pedicure kits that you can purchase and take to the salon with you
- Keryflex cosmetic Nail Restoration
Keryflex Nail Restoration:
Is a cosmetic approach to managing your fungal or damaged, thickened toenails. It is one of the newest innovations in podiatric nail care. Keryflex is a nail restoration system that utilizes high quality synthetic resins, which makes it durable, flexible and able to adapt to the movement of the foot and toes. It is applied in the office and is activity, shoe, and polish ready as soon as it is completed. It will last for up to 8 weeks before new re-growth. It can then be removed and reapplied. There is an antifungal agent within the resin, which will allow care to fungal nails but not harm any non-fungal nails.