Toenail Fungus

What is Nail Fungus?

Fungal nail disease (onychomycosis) is a relatively common chronic infection and a frequent cause of nail deformity.  In other words, fungal nails is an unsightly infection of the nails, causing thickened, brittle, yellow, discolored and sometime painful nails. It is very difficult to cure.  Often the fungus comes after the nail has been damaged by trauma or by an infection. It can also be caused by one of the several microscopic organisms, similar to those that cause Athlete's Foot (tinea pedis). A good number of the time, the Athlete's foot will spread from the skin of the feet to the webbing between the toenails and onto the toenails. 

The fungus is a plant-like organism that thrives in a dark, warm, moist environment, such as within shoes and stockings. They grow in the nail bed, beneath your nails, and live off Keratin, the protein in the nail. Fungal infection does not have to involve all ten toenails, it could affect only one or two nails. 

What Causes Nail Fungus?

  • Bruised or damaged nails
  • Exposing nail to contaminated areas- locker rooms, bathtubs, swimming pools
  • Sweaty shoes or socks
  • Sharing contaminated nail instruments- nails cutters, nail polishes, cuticle cutters

What Does It Look Like?

Toenail fungus can look very different. Some fungus are black, some are dark white and some are even yellow or greenish. In addition, cracked, dry, brittle or broken nails can be a sign of nail fungus. To be properly diagnosed and determine the best treatment, make an appointment! 

Why Is My Toenail Yellow?

There could be a few different reasons why your toenail has turned yellow, but the most common reason that we see in our Gastonia office is because of a fungal infection. When a group of fungi called dermophytes attack your nail, it can become thicker and yellowish-brown in color. It may also have a foul smell as it gets worse.

There's a chance that your yellow toenail doesn't even hurt, and that is not uncommon. However, do not assume the absence of pain means that your toe does not need to be treated. If left untreated, your toenail can become a serious problem in the future and will probably begin to hurt after a while.

Fungal nail infections are an infection underneath the surface of the nail. They can cause difficulty or pain when walking or running, and they are often accompanied by secondary bacterial or yeast infections in or about the nail plate.

If your toenail is yellow and you think you might have a fungal infection, don't simply paint your toenails to avoid the problem. Visit an experienced North Carolina podiatrist to find out whether your infection could benefit from some kind of over-the-counter antifungal agent, or if you need a topical or oral medication prescribed. At Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists, we offer state-of-the-art laser treatment for fungal toenails for yellow toenailsIt is also possible that the diseased nail matter and debris will need to be removed by a process called debridement. In serious cases where the fungus toenail will not respond to normal treatment and keeps returning, surgery may be recommended to remove the nail permanently.

How Can It Be Treated?

We promote prevention first and foremost. If you already have fungal toenails, here at Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists, we offer multiple ways of treating your fungal toenails. You can choose what treatment is best for you. There is the over-the-counter anti-fungal lacquer, oral medication, and our new state-of-the-art Laser procedure which is quick, painless, and effective! 

If you believe you have fungal toenails, call us and make an appointment to come see us at Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists. For people suffering from fungal toenails in the Charlotte - Gastonia area, we have options for you! 

Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists

251 Wilmot Drive
Gastonia, NC 28054