Nail Fungus

Links

American Board of Podiatric Surgery

The American Board of Podiatric Surgery (ABPS), in accordance with standards published by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), conducts primary source verification of the podiatric medical school graduation, residency training completion, and state licensure for each ABPS member.  It is the recognized board certification organization by the American Podiatric Medical Association and the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons.

American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons

The American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) is a professional society of more than 6,000 foot and ankle surgeons.  Founded in 1942, ACFAS seeks to promote the art and science of foot, ankle, and related lower extremity surgery, address the concerns of foot and ankle surgeons, and advance and improve standards of education and surgical skill.

Foot Health Facts-Healthy feet for an Active Life

The patient education website of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons.

American Podiatric Medical Association

Founded in 1912, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, is the leading resource for foot and ankle health information.  Currently, the organization represents a vast majority of the 15,000 podiatrists in the country.  In addition to the national headquarters, APMA boasts 53 state component locations throughout the United States and its territories, as well as affiliated societies

Virginia Podiatric Medical Association

The state component of the APMA.

American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine

The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine serves to advance the understanding, prevention and management of lower extremity sports and fitness injuries.  Useful articles and various athletic shoe lists are found on this site.

American Professional Wound Care Association

The American Professional Wound Care Association is a non-profit medical association welcoming all medical specialties involved in treating the various forms of non-healing wounds, including diabetic, vascular, ischemic, pressure ulcers, burns and cancer.

Northcoast Footcare

Northcoast Footcare is an online resource for reliable and up-to-date foot health information. Northcoast Footcare, Inc has a complete resource of patient information for common foot conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and bunions as well as step by step tratments for each condition.  We believe that images, diagrams and illustrations are the best way to help individuals understand their foot problems.  Northcoast Footcare has the greatest number of graphicson the web for help on diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle conditions.  Content and articles written by Christine Dobrowolski, DPM, MS.

American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.  This site is an excellent resource for anyone desiring more information about diabetes.

Many people don't realize they have a fungal nail problem and, therefore, don't seek treatment. Yet, fungal toenail infections are a common foot health problem and can persist for years without ever causing pain. The disease, characterized by a change in a toenail's color, is often considered nothing more than a mere blemish. Left untreated, however, it can present serious problems.

Also referred to as onychomycosis, fungal nails are infections underneath the surface of the nail, which may also penetrate the nail. Fungal nail infections are often accompanied by a secondary bacterial and/or yeast infection in or about the nail plate, which ultimately can lead to difficulty and pain when walking or running. Symptoms may include discoloration, brittleness, loosening, thickening, or crumbling of the nail.

A group of fungi, called dermophytes, easily attack the nail and thrive on keratin, the nail's protein substance. In some cases, when these tiny organisms take hold, the nail may become thicker, yellowish-brown, or darker in color, and foul smelling. Debris may collect beneath the nail plate, white marks may frequently appear on the nail plate, and the infection is capable of spreading to other toenails, the skin, or even the fingernails.

Nail bed injury may make the nail more susceptible to all types of infection, including fungal infection. Those who suffer chronic diseases, such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immune-deficiency conditions, are especially prone to fungal nails. Other contributory factors may be a history of Athlete's Foot or excessive perspiration.

You can prevent fungal nail infections by taking these simple precautions:

  • Exercise proper hygiene and regularly inspect your feet and toes.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry.
  • Wear shower shoes in public facilities whenever possible.
  • Clip nails straight across so that the nail does not extend beyond the tip of the toe.
  • Use a quality foot powder (talcum, not cornstarch) in conjunction with shoes that fit well and are made of materials that breathe.
  • Avoid wearing excessively tight hosiery, which promotes moisture. Socks made of synthetic fiber tend to "wick" away moisture faster than cotton or wool socks, especially for those with more active lifestyles.
  • Disinfect home pedicure tools and don't apply polish to nails suspected of infection.

Depending on the type of infection you have, over-the-counter liquid antifungal agents may not prevent a fungal infection from recurring. A topical or oral medication may need to be prescribed, and the diseased nail matter and debris removed, a process called debridement. Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medications.

In severe cases, surgical treatment may be required to remove the infected nail. Permanent removal of a chronically painful nail, which has not responded to any other treatment, permits the fungal infection to be cured and prevents the return of a deformed nail.