Nail fungus is a common but annoying condition, affecting up to 14% of the general population. At Foot and Ankle Center, LLC, in Marrero, Louisiana, board-certified podiatrists and foot and ankle surgeons, Catherine Hudson, DPM, Denise Elliott, DPM, and the team offer several outpatient treatments for nail fungus, including prescription antifungals and laser therapy. Call Foot and Ankle Center, LLC, today to request a nail fungus consultation, or book your appointment online.

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What is nail fungus?

Nail fungus occurs when fungi infiltrate a toenail, causing an infection. Without treatment, the infection goes deeper and spreads, causing your nails to thicken, change color, and crumble.

Often, mild nail fungus improves with over-the-counter ointments and improved foot hygiene. But if your symptoms continue or affect your quality of life, seek treatment immediately.

What are the symptoms of nail fungus?

Nail fungus symptoms include nails that are:

  • Thick
  • Discolored
  • Smelly
  • Misshapen
  • Separated from the nail bed

As the fungal infection spreads, your nails may become brittle, crumbly, or ragged.

Does nail fungus require medical care?

Make an appointment at Foot and Ankle Center, LLC, if you have discolored, thickened, or misshapen toenails. That’s particularly true if you have diabetes, experience difficulty walking, or have swollen or painful nails.

Who is at risk of nail fungus?

Several factors can increase your risk of nail fungus, including:

  • Having a minor skin or nail injury
  • Having a skin condition like psoriasis
  • Having diabetes or poor circulation
  • A history of athlete’s foot

Nail fungus tends to affect people who sweat heavily or wear shoes that don’t allow their feet to breathe.

How is nail fungus diagnosed?

Your Foot and Ankle Center, LLC, provider reviews your medical records, asks about your symptoms, and examines your toes and toenails. They take several clippings or scrapings from under your nail and view them under a microscope to identify the underlying cause.

Certain skin conditions, like psoriasis, can cause similar symptoms. Confirming your infection helps guide treatment.

How is nail fungus treated?

The Foot and Ankle Center, LLC, team treats nail fungus using a conservative and minimally invasive approach. They may suggest:

  • Medicated nail cream
  • Medicated nail polish
  • Oral antifungal drugs
  • Laser therapy

If you experience recurrent infections even after these treatments, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. During nail fungus surgery, your podiatrist removes your nail and applies an antifungal treatment directly to the tissue beneath.

How can I reduce my risk of nail fungus?

There are various things you can do to reduce your risk of nail fungus. The Foot and Ankle Center, LLC, team recommends keeping your nails trimmed, wearing shoes in pool areas and locker rooms, and wearing absorbent socks that allow your feet to breathe.

If you have a history of athlete’s foot or other fungal infections, consider treating your feet with antifungal sprays or powders.