If you notice that one of your toenails is a different colour to the rest, you may feel tempted simply to ignore the issue, especially if you’re not currently in any pain or discomfort. It’s easy to assume that your nail’s altered appearance is the result of a recent foot injury or the ageing process. However, the reality is that discoloured toenails are often early warning signs of a fungal nail infection (sometimes called onychomycosis), which can have serious complications if left untreated. The same is true for thickened nails. That’s why it’s important to consult a chiropodist or podiatrist swiftly if any of your toenails begins to look abnormal.
Fungal Infections Are the Major Form of Nail Disease
Fungal nail infections are among the most frustrating foot health problems, not least because they make toenails yellowish and unsightly, affecting sufferers’ self-esteem. They’re also more common than you might expect. Fungal infections are the most prevalent form of nail disease. Patient, the health information website, estimates that up to eight out of 100 people in the UK will develop a fungal nail infection – so you’re not alone. They’re usually caused by fungi called dermatophytes, which feed off keratin, the key component of nails.
Poor Foot Health Increases the Risk of Infection
Anyone can develop a fungal nail infection, but some people are more vulnerable to the condition than others. Fungal nail infections tend to affect more men than women. Poor circulation, damaged toenails and sweaty feet increase the likelihood of an infection occurring. The ailment is also linked to athlete’s foot. Even if your feet are healthy, you can become infected as a result of contact with someone who has fungal nail problems.
Spotting the Symptoms of Fungal Nail Infections
During the early stages of a fungal nail infection, parts of your toenail and nailbed turn white, yellow, green or black. The nail becomes thick, brittle and difficult to trim. It starts to flake and crumble rather than remaining tough and strong. As the initial symptoms are relatively minor, they’re easily overlooked, particularly if you don’t check your feet regularly.
An advanced fungal infection distorts your toenail’s shape; fragments of nail fall off. You’re likely to feel discomfort when wearing shoes and notice an unpleasant odour. When the skin around the toenail becomes damaged, scaly or swollen, bacteria will be able to enter your body easily, putting you at risk of major health problems such as blood poisoning.
London Fungal Nail Treatment from Foot Experts
To protect yourself from the health risks associated with fungal nail infections and eliminate the problem, it’s important to seek fungal nail treatment as soon as possible.
Diagnosing a fungal nail infection is straightforward and painless. One of our London foot specialists will arrange for a toenail clipping to be tested in a laboratory. If an infection is present, we’ll advise you on the best course of treatment for your needs.
- For mild infections: we can advise you about which topical treatments to apply, as well as speeding up the healing process by remodelling your toenail at regular intervals.
- For serious infections: we’ll discuss oral treatments, whether they’re suitable for you and whether you’d also benefit from topical treatments and nail remodelling.
Nails change and grow slowly, and so treating and eradicating a fungal nail infection takes time. We’ll take photos to track your progress and support you every step of the way.
For fungal nail treatment from an experienced London chiropodist and podiatrist, please call Feet By Pody today on 0207 099 6657 or book an appointment online.