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do podiatrists really treat fungal nail infectionsDo podiatrists really treat fungal nail infections? Fungus of any kind can be a very embarrassing condition.  In many cases, individuals tend to hide this by covering up with clothing and footwear.  Others, try to treat their fungal infections with over the counter creams and washes.  However, it is very important to consult a podiatrist at the first signs of fungus on the feet or toenails.  A simple fungus can develop into a much more painful and permanent condition if it is left untreated.

 

When Do I Call My Podiatrist?

 

There are variety of different ways which toenail fungus can develop.  People of all ages can develop this based on their choice of footwear, hygiene, genetics and even medications they are taking or their underlying medical conditions.  Often, it begins with an itch on the foot or hardening and discoloration of the skin or nails, chafing is common as well.  It may become very painful and bothersome to wear certain shoes, or even to walk normally or take part in normal physical activities.

 

It is important to call your podiatrist as soon as these signs appear.  If left untreated, the nail bed can become permanently damaged, which can be both unattractive and painful.  Additionally, the fungus consists of bacteria, so it can easily spread throughout the nails, feet and within the body.  Fungal infections rarely go away on their own.

 

How Will My Fungus Be Treated?

 

There are a variety of different fungal treatments available.  Your podiatrist will work with you to diagnose the specific type of fungus you are experiencing and will prescribe the appropriate medication and treatment plan. Some nail fungus infections can be treated with an antifungal topical cream or lotion.  In other cases, a special nail polish can be applied to the nail(s) of interest.  These typically take a few weeks to begin the healing process.  Some patients whose nail fungus has further developed may need to take an oral medication, in pill or tablet form.  Once the round of medication is complete it is important to go back to the podiatrist as instructed, to have the doctor reevaluate the feet and/or nails.  In some cases, follow up visits which include fungal testing may be necessary.

 

How Can I Prevent Toenail Fungus?

 

There are a few important ways to help prevent the development of toenail fungus.  First, if you bathe before bed, make sure to always wash and dry your feet thoroughly.  Next, be sure to always wear comfortable footwear which does not cause your feet to sweat.  Sweating of the feet is one of the most common ways bacteria develops and grows, due to the abundance of moisture on the skin and on the material.  Also, always make sure that if you do happen to sweat in your shoes or socks, they are completely dry and clean(at least 24-48 hours) before you wear them again.

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