Don’t Hide Those Toes!

With open-toed shoes and flip-flops as the footwear of choice in Florida, toenail fungus is very common.

The most common breeding grounds for toenail fungus are warm, moist environments, such as swimming pools and showers. These microscopic organisms can invade your toenail or skin through small separations in your nails or even tiny cuts you may not even know that you have.

Stock photo from istockphoto.com.

Florida’s warm and humid environment is the perfect breeding ground for toenail fungus, but the condition is treatable.

“Many people who have toenail fungus will try to cover up the fungal nails instead of having them treated,” explains board-certified podiatric surgeon Robert P. Dunne, DPM, FACFAS. “This can actually worsen the fungus, as painting the nail with nail polish will smother the nail and not allow it to breathe properly, and closed-toed shoes make for a dark, warm and moist environment where the fungi can grow and thrive.
“People don’t realize that even if they have had treatments fail in the past, there are new prescription medications on the market that are chemically different from anything we have tried in the past. These new products are showing results far exceeding
previous treatments.”
Dr. Dunne treats a wide variety of podiatric complaints such as fungal nails, tinea pedis (athlete’s foot), dermatitis; heel, foot and ankle pain; tendonitis and bone issues.
“For toenail fungus, our typical treatment is a debridement, or reduction, of the nail, followed by a medication regimen that can be either oral or topical,” explains the doctor.

Toenail Fungus Risk Factors

There are many risk factors for toenail fungus, especially in our Florida environment.
“Age tends to be the most common risk factor for nail fungus. The reason for this is that as we age, our circulation naturally becomes diminished, we have been exposed for a greater number of years to fungi and our nails grow more slowly and tend to thicken, making them more susceptible to fungal infection,” explains Dr. Dunne.
Other risk factors include heavy perspiration, exposure to a humid environment, minor nail injury or damage, and having medical conditions such as diabetes or a weakened immune system.
Lake Washington Foot & Ankle is a comprehensive podiatric medicine clinic offering treatment for everything from bunions to hammertoes. “We treat ingrown toenails, warts and neuromas,” assures Dr. Dunne. “We also do clinical trials for onychomycosis [fungal toenails] in an effort to find better and more effective treatment for this ailment.
“Our patients come first, and we recommend that they take action now if they have a problem. Many people are intimidated by treatment for fungal nails because of known side effects to the liver and other organs. These medications are no longer the only option, and alternate treatments are available.”

Article submitted by Lake Washington Foot & Ankle.
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