The Sunset Foot Clinic
Podiatry & Foot & Ankle Surgery located in Los Angeles, CA & Beverly Hills, CA
Fungal toenails are often seen as little more than an embarrassing problem caused by unsightly discolored nails. But untreated fungal infections are more than an aesthetic concern: They can spread and cause athlete’s foot or cellulitis. Thomas Lim, DPM, and the team at The Sunset Foot Clinic offer effective treatment for fungal nails. The practice has locations in Silver Lake, Beverly Hills, Sherman Oaks, Northridge, La Palma, Whittier, Ontario, and Downey, California. If you have a nail infection, call the nearest office or request an appointment online today.
Fungal Toenails Q & A
What causes fungal toenails?
Fungal nail infections, called onychomycosis, develop when fungi get underneath your nail. Everyone comes into contact with these microorganisms because they thrive in the soil and in moist places, such as swimming pools, gym showers, and the inside of your shoes. But a fungal infection only develops when the microorganisms can get into your nail through a cut or crack.
What increases my risk of developing fungal toenails?
You’re more likely to develop a fungal nail infection if you:
- Don’t wear socks
- Have feet that sweat excessively
- Wear shoes that aren’t ventilated
- Go barefoot in gyms and around pools
- Have a history of athlete’s foot
Your age is another risk factor for fungal nail infections. Because toenails tend to become brittle as you get older, they can crack and create an opening for fungi.
What symptoms develop due to fungal toenails?
Fungal nails cause symptoms such as:
- Discolored nails
- Distorted or thickened nails
- Brittle, crumbly nails
- White spots or streaks on the nail surface
- Yellow streaks under the nail
- Nails separated from the underlying skin
- Buildup of debris under the nail
The fungal infection may also spread and cause athlete’s foot.
How are fungal toenails treated?
There are three possible treatments for fungal nails:
Topical antifungal medications
You apply topical medications to your nail every day for up to 12 months. These medications aren’t always effective, however, because they have a hard time getting through the nail to reach the infection.
Oral antifungal medications
A course of oral antifungal medication lasts 6-12 weeks, and then you start to see results as a new nail that’s clear of the infection slowly grows in and replaces the fungal nail.
Dr. Lim can use a highly precise laser that sends out pulses of light that safely pass through your nail to reach the fungal infection. Heat from the laser destroys the fungus and infected nail cells without harming any of the healthy nail or surrounding skin.
Laser treatments are comfortable, and one session takes about 20 minutes. The infection often improves after one session, but most patients need a series of laser treatments to eliminate the fungus. The number of treatments you need depends on the severity of your infection.
If you have a fungal toenail, call The Sunset Foot Clinic or schedule an appointment online today.