Our Indianapolis wound doctor, Dr. Todd Mann, has some tips for one of the most common ailments we see at his Indianapolis podiatry office. It’s the bane of your summertime attire–forcing you into tennis shoes rather than the embarrassment of wearing sandals. Yes, we’re talking about toenail fungus. And as common as it is Dr. Oz claims that around 15 million Americans have it!, this crumbling, color-changing, thickening nail dilemma is still ugly, smelly, and seemingly impossible to escape. So, what steps should you take for treat toenail fungus? Unfortunately, there is no absolute antidote for treating toenail fungus. But don’t worry; there are many ways to help prevent toenail fungus, stop it from worsening and diminish its appearance.
Preventing Toenail Fungus
Stay Dry The best “cure” for this pesky fungal intruder is to prevent it. Most importantly, keep your feet clean and dry, and allow them to breathe. This means wearing sweat absorbent socks. Change your socks on a regular basis if you have sweatier feet, and make sure your shoes aren’t too tight.
Let Them Breathe If your nails are frequently painted, give them some time off. Not allowing your nails to “breathe” can contribute to toenail fungus. If you can’t stay away from the salon, use antifungal, antibacterial nail polishes. The hypoallergenic polish helps prevent bacteria and fungus from spreading between nails.
Be Clean Fungi are contagious, so proceed with caution in areas such as public showers. Wear protective water shoes, or at the very least, flip-flops. Be sure to regularly clean home showers too, especially ones used by multiple people. If you visit a nail salon, be wary of overly used emery boards. Ask your esthetician how often the boards are cleaned, or simply bring your own!
Treating Toenail Fungus
Soak Your Feet Soaking feet at least once a week is a great way to alleviate fungus symptoms. If your feet are of a sweatier nature, try to do so more frequently. There are many foot soaks available that not only soothe your feet but also contain ingredients to help fight fungus. Whatever you choose, soak and wash with warm water. However, soaking your feet is generally not recommended for those with diabetes or neuropathy.
Medicines There are many affordable over-the-counter ointments that can yield effective results, such as antifungal creams and soaps. Oral treatment is also available, prescribed by a doctor. These prescriptions can be very costly if not covered by your insurance.
What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Other than causing emotional distress in the most vain of us, toenail fungus will not do us harm. Treatments most often must be followed for many months before yielding significant results. Those with poor blood circulation to the feet or nerve damage could develop further bacterial infections, which are more common among diabetics. If this applies to you, or the toenail fungus appears to be significantly worsening, please consult your physician.
Do you need some help taking care of a stubborn case or are you dealing with some other type of foot wound? If you are in the Indianapolis area, simply give us a call and schedule an appointment at our office or at your location.