Fungal nail infections can become unsightly and painful. They may also persist if you don’t treat them right away or you don’t follow specific treatment instructions. Once you notice an infection starting in one of your toenails – or even your fingernails – do something about it immediately. Contracting nail fungus can be from different sources: dirty socks and shoes, walking barefoot in public places, sweaty feet, untreated athlete’s foot, etc. Fortunately, nail infections are highly treatable if you get the required fungal nail treatment UK clinics offer for these infections, and if you follow the treatment plan religiously, you can get rid of the infection in no time.
When to consult your doctor
When you see an infection brewing, the best course of action is to see a podiatrist. A podiatrist treats foot diseases. If you see that your nail has become discoloured, painful, or it lifts off from the nail bed, a podiatrist will give you the right solution. Remember that even though fungal infections are not serious, they can get worse the longer you delay treating them. The sooner you go to a doctor, the sooner that you can get rid of the infection. If you have diabetes and you see changes in your nails, seek a doctor’s opinion right away.
Your doctor may be able to tell if you have a fungal infection by looking at your nail alone. But he may also suggest some tests to ensure that he is making the right diagnosis. He will take a clipping of your infected nail to see if there are fungi in it. He will then suggest a treatment plan, depending on the severity of the infection.
The most common form of treatment for fungal infections is anti-fungal creams that you apply onto the affected nail until the infection goes away. More severe cases may require nail removal if ointments can no longer do the job of curing the infection.
Are you at risk of developing fungal nails?
Some people are more prone to getting fungal nail infections than others. Here are some risk factors for people who may get them.
- If you have diabetes.
- If you have a nail injury or an injury around the nail.
- If you are over 65 years old, although people younger than 65 can also get them.
- If you swim in a public pool or walk barefoot in locker rooms.
- If you are suffering from an illness that causes poor blood circulation.
- If you wear artificial nails.
- If you wear closed shoes more often than wearing sandals or open-toed shoes.
- If you do not switch shoes.
- If your feet get sweaty.
Once you get rid of the infection, take measures so that it doesn’t happen again. Make sure that you always keep your feet – and hands – completely dry so that fungi will not see them as a breeding ground. Also, keep your feet aired every chance you can, to eliminate sweat.