It is finally Spring and you are likely beginning to unveil your toes and get your feet looking their best for flip flops and pool weather. Before you dazzle your toenails with that perfect pink coat of polish, you need to be sure you have healthy nails underneath. Recognizing the signs of nail fungus is important so that you are not covering up a skin condition that needs attention.
Nail fungus usually presents itself in one of two types of infections, both caused by dermatophytes. One type (distal subungal onychmycosis) affects both the nail and the skin underneath the nail, or nail bed. It produces yellow streaking in the nail bed, debris buildup under the nail, and a discolored, brittle and thickened nail that begins to separate from the nail bed. The other type of nail fungus, called white superficial onychomycosis, involves infection on the nail surface. If you have this type of nail fungus, you will likely see white spots or streaks on the nail surface and a damaged, brown or gray nail surface that becomes powdery and soft as the infection worsens. With either infection, there is usually not pain if caught early. A dermatologist can properly diagnose your nail fungus and suggest a treatment option to eliminate the infection. Recurrent nail fungus may require a closer look at what is causing it, such as the sanitation of your nail salon.
You may think your nail fungus is not too bad or perhaps it is just easier to paint those toes and ignore it for a while. Be careful! Leaving a nail fungus untreated can cause inflammation and very painful symptoms, sometimes worsening enough to inhibit your ability to walk comfortably. Not only are you allowing a living organism to reside in your body, you could be putting your health at risk. Although most nail fungal infections stay in the foot, it still has the possibility of traveling to other parts of your body, especially if you have a weaker immune system. When it comes to noticing your nail fungus, the longer you leave it, the harder it is to treat. Make that appointment now to see your dermatologist and get your feet and toes healthy enough to show off this Spring.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Jodi E. Ganz, Olansky Dermatology Associates
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