The small things in life can end up having the biggest impact: seeing a smile after doing a random act of kindness; tending to a small seed and watching it become a beautiful plant; or seeing how a quick rain shower can bring a huge, beautiful rainbow. When it comes to your foot health, small things matter as well, even down to your tiny toenails.
If you were to see a small, white spot on a toenail, it is cause for action. This little symptom could be the beginning of fungal toenails, which is a common problem that leaves your toenails looking unsightly and feeling painful.
Invasion by Invisible Fungi
Tiny, microscopic fungi that are just waiting for the right place to settle in cause this foot problem. You can’t see these microorganisms, but they thrive in environments that are warm and moist. This would mean places such as shower rooms, pool decks, saunas, and locker rooms. Your shoes are prime real estate too.
If you have sweaty feet and are in shoes most of the time, your footwear also encourages fungus to grow. It invades the tiniest separation between your nail and the nail bed and begins to multiply. As the microorganisms grow, they feed on your nail tissue and break it down. This is what causes changes to the nail.
The discoloration starts as a tiny white spot but turns your nail yellow, grey, or even darker as the fungus leaves debris behind. The nail can also start to thicken and the edges become brittle, crumbly, and ragged. It usually loses its shine, can change shape, and may also emit a foul odor if an infection sets in. When the nails become distorted, they can also cause discomfort as well. At this point, it is natural to want to run for cover!
Going on the Defensive
Anyone can develop a fungus infection, it’s just a matter of whether your feet are unprotected in the right environment. This is a contagious infection and can pass easily from one person’s feet to their footwear and the surfaces they walk on. Go on the attack by wearing something on your feet in public places at all times. It takes a small amount of effort and offers big rewards.
If you do notice a small spot, have been procrastinating treatment for your toenails, or have any other complications, contact Waukesha Foot Specialists as soon as possible. We can determine if your symptoms are indeed from a fungal infection and eliminate whatever problem you have. There are several different types of conservative treatments, which include topical anti-fungal medications, oral medications, and laser therapy. With the latter, a high-intensity beam of light passes through the nail and destroys the infected tissue underneath. This allows new, healthy nails to grow in. Surgery is really only necessary in extreme cases.
If you have noticed your toenails changing color and becoming thicker, you may have developed fungal toenails. Don’t cover up the problem and only hope it goes away—the longer this kind of condition is ignored, the worse it becomes and the harder it is to eliminate. We have effective, pain-free ways to treat unsightly, painful nails. Contact Waukesha Foot Specialists in Waukesha, WI, to get your feet looking great once and for all. You can reach Dr. David Guhl and Dr. Amy Miller-Guhl by calling (262) 544-0700, or to have any of your questions answered.