smiling young womanMany people think of toenail fungus as merely an annoying condition that they can just cover up with nail polish or socks. But it’s not.

In the beginning stages, fungal toenails may not be that bad. Your nails may look yellow, brown, and maybe black. But other than a color change, the fungus hasn't done much damage.  

However, once the buggers have set up shop they can cause the nail to lift, become disfigured, and painful. Long term fungus can be much worse for diabetics. Those with fungus are more at risk for developing ulcers.  

Toenail fungus can also be transmitted to other members of your family. After all, it’s a fungus and it doesn’t just stay on your toes. You may have even gotten it from another person you know or from someone at your gym in the shower room.

The other problem with toenail fungus is that it’s chronic. It's much like the plaque on your teeth. It would be great if you could go to the dentist just once to get rid of it, but that’s not how it works. Not only do you have to go back to your hygienist annually you also have to brush your teeth daily.

Here are my recommendations to people with toenail fungus or for those who think they have it:

Is it Really Fungus?

Not all discolored nails are toenail fungus. When you make an appointment with a podiatrist or other provider who wants to treat you, ask them how they know it’s fungus. Sometimes you can tell it’s fungus by visual inspection, but sometimes a clipping of the toenail needs to be sent in for analysis. It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money getting treated for something that may not be fungus at all.

Is Nail Polish OK?

Don’t cover up your fungal nails with nail polish. Nail polish can weaken nails making them more susceptible to toenail fungus. If you want to use polish, I recommend Dr.’s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish which does not contain any of the nail weakening toxins.

Prevent A Fungal Infection

  • Use a shoe sanitizer to get rid of fungus in your shoes. 
  • Wear socks that wick away moisture
  • Don't wear the same shoes everyday, particularly if they're athletic shoes.
  • Wear flip flops when you use the shower and locker room at the gym and pool.
  • Do your own pedicures

For more information about treating fungal nails, as your Seattle podiatrist, I’d be happy to talk with you about your options. Call the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

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