What is Toenail fungus (onychomycosis)?
Onychomycosis is an infection of the toenail caused by fungal organisms. These organisms grow in and under the toenail. Fungus likes to grow in warm, moist, dark places like your shoes. Many patients pickup fungal toenail infections in the gym locker room, from nail salons, wet shoes or from trauma. This fungus can stay in the nail for many years and also can be passed from one person to another, YES! it is contagious.
How do you know if you have toenail fungus?
The most common symptoms of a fungal nail infection include the nail becoming thickened and discolored. Discolorations may be white, black, yellow, green or all of the above. If left untreated the nail may become brittle, crumbly, painful and very thick.
Do I need a biopsy of my toenail to determine if I have fungus?
As part of the evaluation and examination process, the Dr. may recommend having a nail biopsy sent for pathologic evaluation. The information obtained from the biopsy will help in the determining what is the most appropriate course of treatment for you. You may undergo a small in office procedure to obtain the biopsy. This is usually almost pain free for most patients. You may require some aftercare and bandages for a couple days but most of the time this is not necessary. Some insurances may require a positive biopsy result for nail fungus before for they approve a prescription for the oral medication (Lamisil).
How can you treat your nail fungus?
There are 3 ways that you can treat toenail fungus. These methods include topical medications (both prescription and over-the-counter options), oral medications (which can have some serious side effects), and the newest treatment is by laser therapy (Lunula Laser Therapy)
At Southern Tier Podiatry, we offer all 3 treatment options for nail fungus.