At MVS Podiatry Associates in Columbia, we treat numerous patients annually who suffer from onychomycosis, or toenail fungus. Although this condition is typically not life-threatening, it can have a negative impact on self-esteem due to the unsightly changes it causes to toenails. For individuals with autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, it can pose a significant risk to health.
Thankfully, effective treatment options are available for onychomycosis, and we utilize the PinPointe™ FootLaser® to provide relief. In most cases, patients experience visible improvement after a single 30-minute treatment.
What Is Onychomycosis?
Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a common condition characterized by thickening, yellowing, and brittleness of the toenails. As the infection progresses, the affected toenails may become jagged and bark-like, and break off easily. If left untreated, onychomycosis can cause swelling and discomfort, particularly in individuals with underlying health issues.
Early detection and treatment of onychomycosis is crucial, as it can cause minor damage to nail beds and lead to minimal pain. However, the condition can severely impact self-esteem and make wearing shoes and socks uncomfortable in severe cases.
What Causes Onychomycosis?
Onychomycosis is typically caused by various strains of fungi that thrive on keratin, the protein that makes up nails and hair. The fungi thrive in moist, warm, and wet environments like socks and shoes, making anyone susceptible to the condition. However, the following individuals are most at risk:
- People who regularly wear nail polish on their toenails and do not allow their nails to breathe
- Individuals who do not maintain proper foot hygiene and do not clean their feet and toenails regularly
- Those who frequently wear ill-fitting or tight shoes or stockings
- Individuals with circulation issues
- People with chronic immune disorders, such as diabetes
- Individuals who frequent locker rooms, such as athletes, gym-goers, police, and military personnel
Is Toenail Fungus Contagious?
Toenail fungus is a contagious condition, but proper hygiene practices can help prevent most cases. To avoid contracting toenail fungus, it is recommended to:
- Wear shower shoes in public gyms and locker rooms and thoroughly wash your feet both at the gym and when showering at home.
- Dry your feet completely after showering, and consider using a foot powder to maintain dryness and cleanliness.
- If you develop athlete’s foot from a gym, treat it with a topical cream as soon as possible. Use the treatment for the full recommended duration, and monitor your feet afterwards.
- Refrain from sharing footwear with others, and if you have had toenail fungus or athlete’s foot in the past, use a sterilization spray to sanitize your shoes.
- Seek professional treatment if OTC solutions do not work within the recommended treatment period.
While there are various methods to treat toenail fungus, seeking professional treatment is the most effective way to address the issue. Over-the-counter sprays, nail polishes, and creams may be effective in some cases, but for a reliable solution, MVS Podiatry Associates in Columbia offers an effective treatment.
We use the PinPointe™ FootLaser® to target and eliminate the fungus feeding on toenails. The procedure is painless and typically takes less than 30 minutes to complete.
If you are suffering from onychomycosis, consider scheduling a PinPointe™ FootLaser® session at MVS Podiatry Associates in Columbia to eliminate your toenail fungus.