“My goodness my toenails are ugly. I can’t wear sandals outside!”
It started as a little white spot on your toenail but it didn’t really bother you – perhaps you thought it was caused by leaving your nail polish on too long, or maybe you stubbed your toe and thought it would go away. But now your entire nail has yellowed, thickened, and is getting crumbly. It’s kind of disgusting to look at, really, and it embarrasses you.
You are frustrated because you have tried everything to treat it – prescription medication, tea tree oil, cream from the pharmacy, vinegar – but absolutely nothing has worked, and worst of all, the infection is spreading to your other toenails.
Does this sound familiar? Toenail fungus is opportunist that lives naturally on your feet and in your shoes. If there is trauma to your toenail the fungus can infect the nail through small openings, causing out of control growth of a live and active fungus. The method of survival for the fungus is by eating your skin and nails. Over time, a thick, discolored nail will appear. If you ignore it, the infection will get worse and will spread to other toenails and the skin of your feet, causing Athlete’s foot.
What is Toenail Fungus?
I want you to know that you are not alone. Toenail fungus affects thousands of people and is the most common foot problem our Chiropodists (Foot Specialists) treat. Many of our patients are just like you. They often hide their toes for YEARS because they didn’t think anything could be done to fix them. They have often given up hope that anything could be done.
The first thing you need to do is prevent re-infecting yourself and passing it along to other people. Fungus thrives in warm, moist places. You can easily pick it up by walking barefoot around public pools and showers. Make sure you always wear shoes, such as flip-flops or water moccasins, around these areas.
What are the Options to Treat Toenail Fungus?
Until recently there have only been two options available to treat fungus in the toenails: topical medications and oral medications. Topical preparations need to be painted on to the nails daily and can take up to a year of application to see improvement. Oral medication can have potentially dangerous side effects and it is recommended that your liver and kidney function be tested (blood test) while you are taking them. So, the earlier you see a Chiropodist and get the right treatment, the faster and easier it will be to get your healthy nails back again.
At We-Fix-U, our Registered Chiropodists will create a suitable treatment plan for you. No doctor referral is required for these treatments. Don’t let this treatable irritation cramp your lifestyle. Our Chiropodists are experienced and registered with the College of Chiropodists of Ontario. We would gladly answer all your questions about foot health. Make an appointment online here or give us a call at any of our five locations: Bowmanville, Cobourg, Oshawa, Port Hope, and Peterborough.
Peter Greaves, Chiropodist
We-Fix-U Director of Chiropody
About the Author
This article was written by Peter Greaves, a highly experienced Registered Chiropodist. He LOVES answering all your questions as he is rarely without an answer or opinion. If he is not discussing your feet, he will be discussing his favourite topics of Family and Food. Peter tends to say to most of his patients “Your feet may not be sore at the end of your assessment but your BRAIN will be! You are going to learn so much about your feet and foot health.”