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What's unsightly, discolored, brittle, stubborn, often times embarrassing, and makes itself at home in your toenails?  When you put your feet up after a hard day of work, this disease of the nail may as well be lounging next to you with the remote and popcorn.  Toenail fungus is an unwelcome visitor that often overstays its visit. 

What is toenail fungus?

This disease of the nail makes up about 50% of nail abnormalities and affects between 6 to 8 percent of the adult population. It is an infection that occurs when fungus grows in and around your nails. 

How do I know if I have it?

Toenail fungus has many tell-tale symptoms. The following indicators may affect one or more of your nails:

  • Thickening of the nail
  • White or yellow discoloration
  • Brittleness or crumbling edges
  • Change in the shape of the nail
  • Debris trapped under the nail
  • Loss of shine
  • Loosening or lifting up of the nail

Typically, this type of fungal infection is painless. If you experience pain, consult with your doctor right away.

What are the causes?

Fungi thrive and live off of the dead tissues of your hair, skin, and nails. They enter your body by way of cuts or small separations between your nail and nail bed. You are more susceptible to developing toenail fungus if you visit public swimming pools, gyms, or showers frequently. The fungus that inhabits your nails loves warm, moist areas. People who tend to sweat more than average are also at a higher risk. Other causes may include nail bed injury, history of Athlete's Foot, poor blood circulation, tight footwear, and weakened immune systems.

Prevention and Treatments

Practicing good hygiene is key to preventing fungal infections. Take care of your nails by trimming them properly; always straight across, never following the curve of your toe. Always keep your feet clean and dry and do not share nail care tools. If you come into contact with someone who has any type of fungal infection, thoroughly wash your hands and feet.

In order to diagnose nail fungus infections, Dr. Irvine will examine and swab underneath the nail. If you have contracted a fungal infection, it's important to remember that over-the-counter ointments and creams have very little effect on the infection. Dr. Irvine may prescribe an anti-fungal medication to help clear the infection or recommend laser treatment.  In some cases, the nail may even need to be removed. Toenail fungus is a persistent and stubborn condition. It is cured by the growth of a new, non-infected nail. Because toenails grow slowly, it may take a while to rid yourself of the infection. In some cases, the infection will return.

At Axis Foot & Ankle Clinic we welcome walk-ins. We encourage you to contact us whenever you have a concern about your feet. We understand that living with toenail fungus has its hardships and we are here for you. We have several offices in Calgary, AB. For more information visit our offices webpage or call 403-477-3338 to schedule an appointment today!

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