NoVa Foot and Ankle
Podiatrists located in Herndon, VA & Springfield, VA
Toenail fungus may not seem like a big deal, but without proper professional treatment, it can spread to other nails and wind up causing considerable pain. Toenail fungal infections have deep roots, and they can be stubborn to treat. NoVa Foot and Ankle uses the most advanced treatment methods available to help patients in Herndon and Springfield, Virginia, relieve painful symptoms and eradicate the virus so infections can be cured and complications can be prevented.
Toenail Fungus Q & A
What causes toenail fungus?
Toenail fungal infections are caused by tiny micro-organisms called dermatophytes that enter the nail bed through very small openings in the skin, usually right along the edge of the nail. Blisters, ingrown toenails, and tiny cuts or scrapes are common entry points for dermatophytes, and skin that’s become very soft and pliable from soaking for a long time in water can also make it easier for infections to occur. Toenail fungal infections are very contagious, and they’re commonly contracted by walking on warm, damp surfaces like locker room floors, public showers, or decking surrounding pools or hot tubs. The fungus can also be spread from one person to another by sharing shoes worn by someone who has a toenail fungal infection. People with compromised immune systems or circulatory problems and those with diabetes are more likely to contract toenail fungal infections than others.
What symptoms does a toenail fungal infection cause?
In their very early stages, toenail fungal infections often cause very few noticeable symptoms. But once the fungus begins to grow, it can cause symptoms like:
- nail discoloration
- brittle or ragged nails
- nail thickening
- soreness in the nail area, especially when the area is pressed or when wearing shoes
- a foul odor emanating from the nail bed
- separation of the nail from the underlying skin
How is toenail fungus treated?
Most toenail fungal infections can be easily diagnosed with a visual exam and a review of the patient’s symptoms, but in a few cases, a biopsy (a small sample of tissue) may be taken to rule out some types of cancer. Once a fungal infection is confirmed, treatment can include oral medications to treat the infections systemically or topical medications to target the infected area directly. Fungal infections can be very stubborn, and in some cases, the nail will need to be removed to enable the medicine to penetrate the deeper layers of tissue. Laser treatment can also be used in some cases. Once the initial treatment is underway, it’s very important to use medication as directed and to visit the office for all follow-up appointments so treatment stays on track.
At NOVA Foot and Ankle in Springfield and Herndon, Virginia we offer Fungal Laser toenail treatment used for both mild and severe cases of fungal toenail infection. Laser treatments have proven to be more effective than topical medications and can clear the infection without harming healing tissue. The light from the laser is emitted on a specific wavelength which passes into the skin and destroys the infection. The healthy tissue is not affected by the same wavelength. This is because the pigment in the fungi absorbs the light. The sessions are about 20 minutes long and some patients may require more than one application. Results should be seen as the nail grows and reveals healthy tissue.
What can I do to prevent toenail fungal infections?
Because fungal infections are contagious, it’s important not to share footwear and to avoid going barefoot in public areas. Change out of sweaty shoes and socks as soon as possible, and bathe feet often. Using a spray or powder designed to kill fungus can also help.
Major Insurance Providers Accepted
At NoVa Foot and Ankle, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.
Words from our patients
"The appointment process was simple and stress free. The office was very accommodating... I know I can put all my confidence into NoVa Foot and Ankle."
"At my first visit, I was given on-site x-rays and provided the results immediately... NoVa Foot and Ankle has taken great care of me."
"I was in & out of this office for 7 months & I would highly recommend them... Thank you guys so much for everything you've done to get me back to where I was!"
"Totally satisfied with the whole team and Dr Parish who is always so great with awesome patient relationship skills and a true professional healer."