Toenails

5 Most Common Causes of Toenail Fungus

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The 5 Most Common Causes of Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus is very contagious and incredibly easy to get. It’s a common problem in the nail that affects millions of Americans.

But how do you get it? Well, there are a lot of answers to that question. Almost all fungal nail infections come from dermatophytes and the ones that aren’t, are caused by yeast and mold.

Many times, our lifestyle choices lead to fungal infections, but it really can be as simple as catching it from someone else. Read on to learn more about the causes of toenail fungus so you can prevent it from happening to you.

1. Barefoot in Public

When moisture gets trapped under the nail, toenail fungus begins. If you spend a lot of time in public barefoot, you’re opening yourself up to this.

Also, toenail fungus spreads from person to person, so if you’re walking barefoot in the same place that someone else with the fungus did, you’re asking for trouble.

People commonly walk barefoot in public showers and swimming pools. It’s easy for moisture to become trapped under our nails in these places, and when you add the fact that other people are walking barefoot there too it’s just a breeding ground for toenail fungus.

You should wear sandals and shoes in public places at all times, save the barefoot business for home.

2. Injury to the Toenail

There are two kinds of trauma that your toenail can experience, acute and blunt.

With acute trauma, you are injuring your nail over and over again. Think about athletes and runners with shoes that don’t fit. With every step they take, they drive their toe into the inside of the shoe.

When something heavy falls on your toes, or you bang them very hard, you’re experiencing blunt trauma. Even if it just happens once, it’s a lot easier to get toenail fungus. Make sure that your nail doesn’t turn black after an injury like this.

Both of these injuries are painful and they leave you susceptible to yellow toenail fungus. Your nail becomes weak and prone to infection.

3. Circulatory Issues

If you have poor circulation in your feet, you must be very careful to steer clear from toenail fungus. People with this condition are more prone to issues with their feet.

People with poor circulation often cant tell they are having problems with their feet because of nerve damage. But that same poor circulation also makes it harder to treat and messes up our ability to heal.

If you have circulatory issues, check your feet for fungus every day.

4. Pedicures

As much as pedicures make us feel pampered and look great, they put us at risk for toenail fungus. If the salon doesn’t properly sterilize their tools, nail salons are just as bad as public showers and pools.

If the tools the manicurist uses on your feet are the same tools that they used on someone with a toenail fungus, this spreads it around easily.

Try a home pedicure instead or bring your own tools for them to use.

5. Athlete’s Foot

People often think athlete’s foot and toenail fungus are the same things, but they’re not. However, one can often lead to the other. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin that often happens in the toes and causes itching and burning.

If you don’t treat your athlete’s foot, it can spread to your toenails as well.

Causes of Toenail Fungus

These are just some of the causes of toenail fungus. You also leave yourself more susceptible to them if you get fake nails or if your body has a naturally weakened immune system. They are spreadable and they can affect anyone, and if left untreated they can become severe.

For information on how to treat this fungus and take better care of your feet, visit us today.

The Ultimate Guide to Dealing with an Infected Toenail

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The Ultimate Guide to Dealing with an Infected Toenail

Even well-maintained feet can be subject to infection. As we age, infected toenails are often a reality. Nails become dry and brittle and can crack. These cracks in the nails allow fungi to enter and wreak havoc.

A fungus infection can also be caused by a weakened immune system or poor blood circulation to the feet, which is often a symptom of diabetes. Also, athlete’s foot can sometimes spread into the toenail. However, these kinds of fungal infections are rarely contagious to others.

Mild symptoms can often be treated at home with over-the-counter medications. For persistent or severe symptoms, it’s best to consult a physician.

Symptoms of an Infected Toenail

Some of the symptoms of nail fungus include:

  • Thickened nails
  • Discolored nails, white, yellow or brown
  • Brittle or crumbly nails
  • Nails that are distorted in shape
  • Slightly foul smelling nails

Obviously, none of these are ideal conditions for your feet.

Causes of Toenail Fungus

Infected toenails are usually caused by a fungus, called dermatophyte. Although nail infections can happen to anyone at any age, it’s most common in older people with brittle and cracked nails.

Risk Factors include:

  • Being older
  • Reduced blood flow
  • Sweating heavily
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Walking barefoot in damp areas (swimming pools, gyms, and shower rooms)
  • Nail injury
  • Psoriasis
  • Diabetes
  • Weakened immune system

Some of these factors are easy to avoid. Others not so much. So what can you do if an infection occurs?

Home Treatment

1. Vicks VapoRub

A study at Harvard Medical School asserts that Vicks VapoRub, applied daily on the infected toenail, “might be at least as effective as most of the topical treatments for toenail fungus that are available by prescription or over the counter.”

2. Ozonized Sunflower Oil

One study found that Oleozon, or ozonized sunflower oil, when applied topically twice a day, cured 90% of fungal nail infections within three months of use.

3. Snakeroot Extract

Snakeroot plant extract, applied once or twice a week has also been shown to have great success. Traditionally used in Mexico, this plant extract contains encecalin, which has antifungal qualities.

4. Pau d’Arco Tea

Pau d’Arco contains naphthoquinones, which is an antifungal compound. The tea is made from the inner bark of a tree, native to South America. It’s important to note that soaking your feet in the tea, rather than drinking it, is how to apply treatment.

5. Oregano Oil

Mix 2 drops of oregano oil with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and apply to the infected toenail daily for no longer than 3 weeks. Thymol and carvacrol are both found in oregano oil, and both have antifungal qualities.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar

Soak toenails in a 1:2 ratio of vinegar to warm water for 20 minutes a day. The acetic acid in vinegar is antifungal.

7. Tea Tree Oil

Apply tea tree oil with a cotton swab twice daily to the mildly infected toenail. One study found tea tree oil to be just as effective as the antifungal medicine clotrimazole for mild cases.

Prevention

There are many precautions you can take to prevent fungal infections:

  • Wash your hands and feet regularly
  • Moisturize
  • Trim nails straight across to prevent ingrown nails
  • Disinfect your nail clippers
  • Wear absorbent socks
  • Wear shoes made of breathable materials
  • Disinfect shoes regularly
  • Wear flip-flops or water shoes in pool areas and locker rooms
  • Only go to nail salons that sterilize manicure tools after each customer

These are easy tips to follow and are very effective at preventing a nasty infection.

When to See a Physician

See a physician if self-care isn’t working, especially in severe cases and when symptoms are persisting.

Also, if you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, fungal infections can lead to more serious complications, so it’s important to see a doctor right away.

If you have complications from a toenail infection, it might be time to talk to a podiatrist.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

How to Find the Best Podiatrist in Your Area


How to Find the Best Podiatrist in Your Area

When you think about all the time we spend on our feet, it’s no wonder that so many people experience foot pain. Daily activity can put stress on this part of the body, and certain health issues like diabetes can also cause foot problems.

Taking care of your feet should be a health priority, and there are lots of things you can do to ensure foot health. Most importantly, if you do experience issues with your feet, you need to book an appointment with a podiatrist.

Finding the best podiatrist in your area doesn’t have to be a daunting task, and the sooner you book an appointment, the sooner you’ll be on the road to recovery.

Below, we’re sharing a few tips on how you can find the podiatrist that will work best for you so you can get back on your feet–literally.

Read on to learn more.

1. Online Resources

Finding the best podiatrist for you could be as simple as spending some time on the Internet. There are a lot of online resources that will help you locate what podiatrists are in your area.

Podiatric associations can be a good place to start. They typically keep a database of podiatrists who are members of their organization, and make it easy for patients to search podiatrists in their area.

Most pediatric associations will require podiatrists to adhere to a code of ethics as well, so any doctor you find through that resource should deliver the highest quality patient care.

2. Former Patients

Because foot problems are so common–especially among athletes or those with similar medical conditions–you probably know someone who has been to a podiatrist in your area.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to former patients to ask them about their experience with a particular podiatrist. Many will be happy to share. Whether they had a good experience or a bad one, they can help you make an informed decision.

3. Ask Questions

In order to determine if a particular podiatrist will be right for you, you need to have as much information about them and their practice as possible.

Create a list of questions that you want answered, so you can compare all of your options. For example, do they accept your insurance? Do they provide the specific services you need? What is their expertise or training in a particular area?

You should also pay attention to their attitude in answering your questions. Friendly staff who are happy to provide you with the information you request will likely make for a better medical team.

Ready to Book an Appointment with the Best Podiatrist in Your Area?

No one ever wants to have to visit the doctor. But if you do have a foot problem that requires a podiatrist’s attention, you want to do everything you can to ensure you’re getting the best care possible.

Do your research and ask questions so that you can find the podiatrist who will get you on your way to a fast recovery. For more information or to book an appointment, please contact us at any time.

6 Must-Know Tips to Help Prevent Ingrown Toenails

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6 Must-Know Tips to Help Prevent Ingrown Toenails

Few pains in this world beat the pain of an ingrown toenail. The condition sends something of a sting through your entire body, and can be almost unbearable to live with.

While some people are prone to ingrown toenails, others only experience them on rare occasions. Whichever group you fall into, there are things which can be done to prevent ingrown toenails in the future.

Here are 6 must-know tips to help you prevent ingrown toenails.

1. Trim Your Nails

The best way to prevent the existence of ingrown toenails is to trim your toenails right in the first place.

Many people, when trimming their nails, tend to trim them down to the skin. This is improper. What you need to do is leave a bit of nail off of the skin, all the while trimming in a straight line.

Doing this will prevent skin from growing up over your nails.

2. Wear Comfortable Footwear

Wearing comfortable footwear is necessary for a number of reasons, one of which is to prevent nasty ingrown toenails.

Shoes which are too tight either in the front or on the sides tend to crowd your toes together. Because they have no room to move, they are constantly making contact with the shoes themselves.

This constant collision will put stress on the nails, causing them to grow in unpredictable ways.

3. Soak Your Feet

A great way to cease the growth of ingrown toenails, and to keep your feet healthy in general is by soaking them on a regular basis. Soaking your feet will keep both your skin and your nails soft, allowing them to grow in a satisfactory manner.

The best way to soak your feet is with warm water and perhaps a bit of Epsom salt. Essential oils can also help to soothe and moisturize your skin.

4. Prioritize Foot Freedom

Because your shoes tend to put a lot of stress on your toenails, you should do without them as much as possible. The less you wear shoes, the less chance you have of developing ingrown toenails.

When you’re lounging around the house, opt for either bare feet or socks.

5. Don’t Pick at Your Cuticles

If you’ve developed a nasty habit of picking and tearing at your cuticles are toenails, you’ve got to try and stop as soon as possible.

When you pick your nails and cuticles, you make them misshapen. Misshapen nails will grow in most of the time, causing ingrown toenails on occasion.

6. Consult a Podiatrist

If you’ve tried everything but are still having trouble with ingrown toenails, it’s time to consult a podiatrist. A podiatrist will be able to assess your specific case and assist you in a way that best benefits you.

In some cases, podiatrists can perform ingrown toenail surgery. This is a quick surgery which will have you pain-free in close to no time.

We Can Help to Prevent Ingrown Toenails

If you’ve got chronic trouble with ingrown toenails, it might be time to talk to a podiatrist. Do you live in the San Dimas, California area? We here at Pacific Foot & Ankle Associates are the podiatrists you’re looking for.

With years of experience on our side, we know exactly must be done to prevent ingrown toenails from occurring.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!