How to treat that discolored toenail

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discolored-toenail-scottsdale-azWhy is that toenail so thick and discolored? When a toenail is strangely yellow, white or green in color, this usually indicates an ongoing fungal infection. Technically known as dermatophytic onychomycosis, this disease occurs in 10% of adults and constitutes half of all nail problems (usually toenails). We are all surrounded by fungus spores, and some people (like athletes) are more susceptible to infection. Problems can arise if you walk barefoot in moist, warm, outdoor places or wear closed-toe, airtight shoes that accumulate sweat.

Your podiatrist can take various steps to cure a fungal infection. In mild cases, you may receive a prescription for a medicated polish with cicloprox — for 6-9 months you will apply this polish daily. In not-so-mild cases, you may be prescribed Lamisil or Sporanox (oral antifungals). Another option is soothing, all-natural Zetaclear — tea tree oil, lavender oil, clove oil and jojoba oil. Or your podiatrist may provide a synthetic nail known as Kery-Flex that fits over your toenail; the material has strong antifungal properties. Another possibility is laser treatment to zap the fungus and allow the nail to regrow; this treatment is very effective. In some cases, your doctor will recommend surgical removal of the bad nail.

Even though fungus gets most of the attention, there are other nail conditions to watch out for. A greenish colored nail may indicate bacterial infection of the nail bed. A darkened nail may result from pooled blood (hematoma) underneath due to trauma. Sometimes a discolored toenail is symptomatic of a serious condition such as liver dysfunction or diabetes. There is also a very rare genetic disease known as Yellow Nail Syndrome.

As soon as you notice unusual changes or abnormal appearance regarding a toenail, make an appointment at InMotion Foot and Ankle Specialists to get an evaluation. Toenail problems rarely clear up and go away; instead, they slowly get worse.

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