If one of your toenails is suddenly discolored, crumbling, or ragged, the culprit could be a nail fungus. Family Foot & Ankle Center’s elite podiatry care specialists provide comprehensive care for fungal nails, including diagnosis and situation-specific treatment to permanently clear nail fungus. Reach out to the Upland, California, office now or click the online booking feature for help with nail fungus.

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What is nail fungus?

Nail fungus is an infection affecting the toenails. The infection is similar to athlete’s foot, but while athlete’s foot affects the skin, nail fungus causes unhealthy changes in the different layers of your toenails.

The tiny organisms that cause nail fungus thrive in warm, moist areas like locker rooms and public showers. Walking barefoot in those areas is a common cause of nail fungus. Fungi also grow in damp shoes. The fungi can get in if you have even the tiniest cut or crack in or around your nail.

If you’re older, have diabetes, blood circulation problems, psoriasis, or a weakened immune system, you have a higher-than-normal risk of experiencing nail fungus.

How can I tell if I have nail fungus?

Nail fungus usually starts in the outer layers of your nail. The first sign of nail fungus is often white spots on the nail. The fungus moves into the deeper layers of your nail and spreads out to affect the whole nail. Symptoms that often occur as this happens are:

  • Nail turns yellow, white, or brown
  • Nail thickens
  • Weak nail feels soft in some areas
  • Nail crumbles
  • Nail splits
  • Nail develops ragged edges
  • Nail lifts off the nail bed
  • Foul odor comes from the nail

Unfortunately, nail fungus can spread to other nails, so treating it as soon as you notice these symptoms is necessary.

How is nail fungus treated?

Family Foot & Ankle Center offers several ways to treat nail fungus. Treatment often includes trimming the infected part of the nail. A topical antifungal medication, for example, one that you apply like nail polish, can be effective against a milder nail fungus.

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) says that oral antifungal medication could be the best treatment for more severe fungal infections. You must take oral antifungal medication daily for about three months.

You might need debridement — removing the infected part of the nail and the affected skin — or removing the entire nail if your infection doesn’t improve with other treatments. If you need toenail removal, the team performs wound care to help you heal.

Toenail fungus is treatable, and you can prevent it from returning with help from the Family Foot & Ankle Center team. Call the office now or click the online booking feature to schedule your appointment.