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Toenail fungus, medically known as “onychomycosis,” is a very common condition that affects an estimated 10-12% of the world’s population. Some common symptoms of this condition include yellowing, discoloration, thickening, crumbling, swelling, or inflammation of the nail.

While toenail fungus is not a life-threatening condition, it can become quite painful if the infection continues to spread, and can even cause splitting, cracking, or complete loss of the toenail if left untreated. Fortunately, a podiatrist can detect these types of infections early on, and can prescribe a specific treatment plan to get rid of toenail fungus before it gets out of hand. Common steps that might be taken include:

  • Prescribing oral or topical anti-fungal medication. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to treat toenail fungus. The treatment time frame for these types of medications is roughly three to six months, but can be longer depending upon the severity of the infection.
  • There are some cases in which surgical treatment may need to be performed to get to the root of the problem. One common surgical option is to temporarily remove the infected nail in order to directly apply a topical anti-fungal medication to the affected area. In other more extreme cases, the nail may need to be permanently removed, which will cure the fungal infection and prevent any deformed nail from returning.

Once the fungal infection has been treated, there are some simple things you can do to keep it from coming back:

  • Wash your feet with soap and water daily, and remember to dry them thoroughly.
  • When showering in public areas (e.g., pools, fitness centers, etc.), wear shower shoes.
  • Make sure to disinfect any nail clippers or pedicure tools before using.
  • Change your socks or hosiery at least once daily.
  • Wear shoes and socks that are made of breathable or moisture-wicking materials.

While home remedies for fungal infections are highly popular, trying to treat this condition without the help of a qualified podiatrist can lead to even more problems and complications. If you’re currently dealing with toenail fungus, consult with a podiatrist in order to discuss potential treatment options that will get rid of it for good.