Chiropodist & Podiatrist
Fungal infection of the toenails is a common foot health problem. Unfortunately, the majority of sufferers do not seek treatment, often they do not even recognise the existence of a problem. Studies estimate that it afflicts three to five percent of the population; however, GP and chiropodists and podiatrists think that because so many cases go unreported, the incidence is much higher than that. Tens of thousands are treated each year but it is estimated that this is only a quarter of all cases in existence.
Probably one reason that so many people ignore the infection is that it can be present for years without ever causing pain. It is often not noticed because the onset is so slow. The prevalence of fungal infections rises sharply among older adults, but, because these older adults may be experiencing much more serious medical problems, it is understandable that fungal nails can be passed over as a very minor problem, often, it is anything but that.
Whatever the case, the disease, characterized by a change in a toenail's colour, is often considered nothing more than a mere blemish, something ugly and embarrassing. It is apparently assumed that since white markings or a darkening of the nail are minor occurrences, the change represents something minor as well, even when the blemish spreads. Nail polish is an easy solution for many women, rendering the problem "out of sight, out of mind." Unfortunately, Painting over the problem makes matters worse, if using the wrong products.
In many cases, however, that change in colour is the start of an aggravating disease that ultimately could take months to control. Fungal infection of the nails is known to podiatrists and other physicians as onychomycosis. It is an infection underneath the surface of the nail, which can also penetrate the nail. If it is ignored, its spread could impair one's ability to work or even walk. That happens because it is frequently accompanied by thickening of the nails, which then cannot easily be trimmed and may cause pain while wearing shoes. This disease can frequently be accompanied by a secondary bacterial and/or yeast infection in or about the nail plate.
What is a Fungal Nail?
Onychomycosis is an infection of the bed and plate underlying the surface of the nail, and is caused by various types of fungi, which are commonly found throughout the environment. Fungi are simple parasitic plant organisms, such as molds and mildew, that lack chlorophyll and therefore do not require sunlight for growth. A group of fungi called dermatophytes easily attack the nail, thriving off keratin, the nail's protein substance. When the tiny organisms take hold, the nail may become thicker, yellowish-brown or darker in colour, and foul smelling. Debris may collect beneath the nail plate, white marks frequently appear on the nail plate, and the infection is capable of spreading to other toenails, the skin, or even the fingernails.
Because it is difficult to avoid contact with microscopic organisms like fungi, the toenails are especially vulnerable around damp areas where people are likely to be walking barefoot around swimming pools, locker rooms, or showers. Injury to the nail bed may make it more susceptible to all types of infection, including fungal infection. Those who suffer chronic diseases, such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immune-deficiency conditions, are especially prone to fungal nails. Other contributory factors may be a history of athlete's foot and excessive perspiration.
Types of Treatment
Depending on the nature of the infection and the severity of each case, treatment may vary. A daily routine of cleansing, over a period of many months, may temporarily suppress mild infections. White markings that appear on the surface of the nail can be filed off, followed by the application of an over-the-counter liquid antifungal agent such as monphytol.
However, even the best-over-the-counter treatments may not treat or prevent a fungal infection from coming back. A fungus may work its way through the entire nail, penetrating both the nail plate and the nail bed. If an infection is not overcome, or continues to reappear, further medical attention is strongly recommended.
Podiatric Medical Care
A chiropodist and podiatrist can detect a fungal infection early, culture the nail, determine the cause, and form a suitable treatment plan, which may include prescribing topical or oral medication, and debridement (removal of diseased nail matter and debris) of an infected nail. Indeed, debridement is one of the most common foot care procedures performed by chiropodists. our podiatrist can cultivate a sample of your nail, without the need to see your G.P, our podiatrist can also provide a private prescription for medication not available over the counter. We offer a variety of treatments for fungal nail infection, click the links below to view a detailed description of each treatment we offer:
Fungal Nail Consultation
In Rare cases, surgical treatment may be required. Temporary removal of the infected nail can be performed to permit direct application of a topical antifungal. Permanent removal of a chronically painful nail, which has not responded to any other treatment, permits the fungal infection to be cured, and prevents the return of a deformed nail.
Trying to solve the infection without the qualified help of a podiatrist can lead to more problems. With new technological advances in combination with simple preventive measures, the treatment of this lightly regarded health problem can often be successful.
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Prevent Fungal Infections
Because fungi are everywhere, including the skin, they can be present months before they find opportunities to strike, and before signs of infection appear. By following precautions, including proper hygiene and regular inspection of the feet and toes, chances of the problem occurring can be sharply reduced, or even put to a halt.
Clean, dry feet resist disease; a strict regimen of washing the feet with soap and water, remembering to dry thoroughly, is the best way to prevent an infection. Shower shoes should be worn when possible, in public areas. Shoes, socks, or hosiery should be changed daily. Toenails should be clipped straight across so that the nail does not extend beyond the tip of the toe. Use a quality foot talcum powder -- in conjunction with shoes that fit well and are made of materials that breathe.
Avoid wearing excessively tight hosiery, which promotes moisture. Socks made of cotton or wool tend to absorb moisture faster than synthetic fibers, especially for those with more active life styles.
Moisture collecting underneath the surface of the toenail would ordinarily evaporate, passing through the porous structure of the nail. The presence of an artificial nail or a polish impedes that, and the water trapped below can become stagnant and unhealthy, ideal for fungi and similar organisms to thrive.
Always use preventive measures when applying polishes. Disinfect home pedicure tools and don't apply polish to nails suspected of infection in those on toes that are red, discoloured, or swollen, for example.
At My Foot Doctor we recognise that every patient is unique and deserves a treatment tailored to their individual needs.
Chiropodists and podistrist can help diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range of foot and lower limb problems, Our chiropodist and podiatrist is qualified to BSc Podiatric Degree standards with over 9 years experience, as well as dealing with minor foot treatments, such as corns, hard skin (callus), ingrown toenails, bunions, verruca, athletes foot, fungal nail infections, infected toenails, skin problems, we can also deliver fast and effective podiatric treatments such as surgery under local anaesthetic to deal with ingrown toenails or infected toenails (ingrown toenail surgery available.) Our podiatrist can also deal with a wide variety of foot problems, such morton's neuroma, plantar fasciitis, metatarsaligia, neuropathy, over pronation, gait analysis, insoles and orthotic prescriptions, children's foot problems, sports injuries, arthritis, diabetic footcare, elderly foot care and gait changes, plus a whole lot more. At my foot doctor our chiropodist and Podiatrist offers the latest treatments to deal aesthetic problems of nails Toenail Brace innovative injection therapy techniques such as steroid injection, Ostenil injections, PRP injections, , Five minute fungal nail test, Toenail Reconstruction, Low level laser therapy LLLT, Medical Pedicure. we also offer some of the most up to date treatments in the UK, such as Low level laser therapy, neuropathy diagnosis test, which has been proven to treat a wide spectrum of painful foot conditions, such as plantar fasciitis , gout, arthritis, heel pain, achilles tendonitis, knee and ankle pain.
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