Summer may be drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean sandals and flips flops are going in the closet—this is Florida after all! Floridians need to keep their feet in tip-top shape year round, including their toenails.
A question I get asked frequently is “Why are my toenails yellow?” There can be a number of reasons for this. For the ladies, wearing toenail polish for an extended period can cause the nail to yellow, but this can be remedied by using an anti fungal undercoat or an anti fungal nail polish.
Another reason is fungus. Eww. But it’s true. Fungus is a very common cause of yellowed nails. In fact, its the most common infection you can get. It’s more common the common cold! And toenail fungus is easy to spot on my patients when they come to my office. They have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Thickened toenails
- Toenails that are brittle, crumbly or ragged
- Yellow or white discoloration
- Toenails that are distorted in shape
- Dull toenails, with no luster or shine
The sooner you treat this condition, the better. Toenail fungus can be difficult to treat. You can try an over-the-counter antifungal nail creams and/or ointments, but you should see a podiatrist to follow up and ensure that it is being treated properly.
If over-the-counter antifungals are not working, you may need an oral antifungal medication. Despite outdated fears that overhyped their risks, for most people the most effective oral medication has a safety profile similar to Tylenol. Its also generic, so its affordable. Other treatment options include antifungal lacquer or surgery, in extreme cases.
Laser gets a lot of hype, but I won’t put it in my office until more research gets published. The few units that are even FDA approved, are approved for TEMPORARY removal of nail fungus, which means the fungus can come right back, and a lot of offices are charging outrageous cash prices for what I think is not yet a proven long term technique.
If you suspect you are suffering from toenail fungus, please get it checked out. If you suffer from a compromised immune system or diabetes, it can lead to other serious infections.
If you are looking for a podiatrist in the Bradenton or Sarasota area, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Lasday, Dr. Zdancewicz, or Dr. Goecker for a thorough and professional evaluation, either in their Bradenton Podiatry office or Sarasota Podiatry office.