Fungal toenail infections occur commonly and are hard to treat, and the thickening and yellowing of your nails can be annoying and embarrassing. If you have toenail fungus, Dr. McElvin Pope in New York City and Long Island City has years of experience accurately diagnosing and treating the condition. At the first signs of toenail fungus, call Dr. Pope’s Manhattan office or schedule an appointment online to get the relief you deserve.
A fungal toenail infection, called onychomycosis, occurs when your foot encounters one of the many types of fungal organisms, yeasts, or molds that thrive in the environment.
While you may frequently become exposed to these substances, they only cause an infection when they get into your toenail through a tear or crack in the nail or surrounding skin. Once they get into your nail, they begin to grow and cause a fungal infection.
The microorganisms that cause toenail infections live in dark, moist places, which includes the inside of your shoes. The presence of these microorganisms means that anyone can develop a toenail fungus, while the following factors increase your risk:
At the start of a toenail infection, a white or yellow spot may be visible under the tip of your toenail where the microorganism entered.
As the fungal infection spreads deeper into the toenail, your toenails may become thick and discolored, taking on a shade of yellow, green, or black. The toenail can grow misshapen, and the edges of the nail may crumble or crack.
Dr. Pope may take a nail sample or remove a small amount of tissue from under the nail and send it to a lab that identifies the type of fungus present. This information verifies that you have an infection rather than another condition that looks similar, like psoriasis. It also helps Dr. Pope determine the best course of treatment.
Generally, Dr. Pope initially treats toenail fungus with a topical medication to get rid of the microorganism. If your infection becomes more severe since your last appointment, or your toenail doesn’t improve with topical medicines, Dr. Pope prescribes an oral antifungal medication.
Treatment with oral antifungal medications may take three to 12 months to cure the problem, so it’s best not to wait too long to seek treatment. In some cases, Dr. Pope may need to remove the damaged part of the nail.
If you suspect you may have toenail fungus, call or schedule an appointment online for expert care.