Toenail fungus is a common problem that affects between 3-12% of the general population. Though typically harmless, if allowed to progress, the fungus can cause your toenails to deteriorate, thicken, and crumble. At Optima Foot and Ankle, with the convenient locations in Bend, Oregon, and Redmond, Oregon, expert podiatrists Laura Schweger, DPM, and Evan M. Ross, DPM, provide advanced treatments for toenail fungus like the Lunula Laser®. Use the online scheduling tool to book an appointment or call the nearest office today.

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What is toenail fungus?

Toenail fungus occurs due to onychomycosis, a fungal infection of the nails and skin. Early on, toenail fungus looks like a small white or yellow spot. As the infection progresses, it causes your nails to change color and fall apart.

Toenail fungus varies in severity. For some people, it’s a minor annoyance that responds well to topical medication. For others, it’s painful, irritating, and affects the quality of life. If you’re concerned about the condition or appearance of your toenails, contact Optima Foot and Ankle right away.

What are the symptoms of toenail fungus?

You might have toenail fungus if one or several of your nails are:

  • Thickened
  • Brittle, crumbling, or ragged
  • Distorted in shape
  • Yellow or brown
  • Dark or dirty looking

As the fungus spreads, you might also notice that your toes and feet emit a slightly foul odor.

Who is at risk of experiencing toenail fungus?

Toenail fungus affects people of all ages, genders, and races, but certain factors may increase your risk. For example, you’re more likely to experience toenail fungus if you’re older and have poor blood flow due to an underlying medical condition like diabetes.

Other factors that increase your risk of toenail fungus include sweating heavily, having a medical history of athlete’s foot, and walking around barefoot in communal areas like swimming pools or public locker rooms.

How is toenail fungus diagnosed?

To diagnose toenail fungus, your Optima Foot and Ankle provider carefully examines your toes and toenails. They also take nail clippings and send them to a laboratory for further analysis to help determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. Certain conditions like psoriasis mimic fungal infections. Pinpointing the source of your discomfort helps guide treatment.

How is toenail fungus treated?

Treatment of toenail fungus depends on the severity of your symptoms and their effect on your daily life. Whenever possible, Optima Foot and Ankle recommends conservative measures like over-the-counter ointments and changing your shoes and socks frequently.

If your symptoms worsen, you might benefit from:

  • Oral antifungal drugs
  • Medicated nail polish
  • Medicated nail cream
  • Treatment with the Lunula Laser

The Lunula Laser is a new, advanced, painless treatment that’s very effective in generating healthy, clear nails. It uses a cool, touchless laser to stimulate new nail growth with no downtime or risk.

If your infection continues to recur, surgical intervention may be necessary. During surgery, your provider removes the affected nail and applies an antifungal treatment directly to the nail bed.

To learn more about the treatment of toenail fungus, request a consultation at Optima Foot and Ankle. Call the nearest office or use the online booking tool today.