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All Posts in Category: Nail Issues

How Did I Get Fungus Under My Toenails?

fungal toenailsNothing makes you want to hide your feet from the outside world quite like a fungal toenail infection. Fungi under your nails can produce a host of unpleasant and embarrassing symptoms: yellowish discoloration, a thickened nail plate, a ragged and crumbly edge. No matter how much you hope and wish the problem will just go away on its own, the truth is that it won’t—at least not without some outside help.

One reason people get embarrassed by fungal nails is because it can produce a sense of shame. Many mistakenly believe that “normal” people who take good care of their feet could never contract a fungal infection, and therefore it must be their fault. However, this is not necessarily true! Fungal toenails are actually quite common, and while you can reduce your risk with good prevention strategies, you can’t always protect yourself or control when you might be exposed.

So, how did you get fungus under your toenails? In simple terms, the fungus found its way in when it came in contact with your feet.

The fungi that cause fungal toenails love environments that are dark, hot, and wet. The inside of shoes fit this description well, as do saunas, gyms, pools, locker rooms, towels, and the like. Unfortunately, the fungus can spread from one person to a surface or object, lie in wait, and then spread to you. If you go barefoot in public facilities or keep your feet inside sweaty shoes and socks, you put yourself at risk of contact.

One thing worth noting—conditions like athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch are caused by the same types of fungi that can infect your nails. If you have any of these conditions, they can spread from one location to the other.

Fungi can enter through tiny, microscopic cracks in your nail or cuts in your skin, too small for you to see or feel. There’s not much you can do to prevent these microscopic openings from forming, so prevention strategies are mostly focused on reducing the likelihood of initial contact.

Factors that can magnify your risk of a fungal infection include:

  • Conditions that reduce circulation to the toes or weaken your immune system, including diabetes.
  • Advancing age—older adults tend to have slower circulation, not to mention they’ve had more opportunity to encounter fungus.
  • Going barefoot in public.
  • Using a public swimming pool.
  • Not changing shoes or socks once they get sweaty.
  • An injury to the skin or nails, including ingrown toenails

There are two important things to remember if you contract fungal toenails. The first is that you have nothing to feel ashamed about—even with good hygiene, this infection can still occur, and many people deal with it at one point or another in their lifetimes. The second is that, if you ignore it, it will only get harder and harder to treat.

That’s why you should make an appointment right away with Dr. Daniel Walters at his Garfield Ridge, Chicago podiatry office. Striking when the fungus is still relatively mild will greatly increase your chance of a satisfactory outcome, and greatly reduce the odds that the fungus will spread to other toes, other body parts, or other people. To schedule your appointment, give us a call at (773) 586-0050.

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Family relaxing on the grass

How to Fix Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails may seem small, but they can cause a great deal of pain and distress, especially if they never seem to go away—or keep coming back. While some people may wind up with an ingrown toenail as the result of an injury or accident, others get them over and over for seemingly no reason at all. Unfortunately, the condition can have a genetic component and run in families.

Regardless of how you got your ingrown toenail, chances are you just want it fixed: that pain, sensitivity, and tenderness can really start to make certain activities difficult. On that front, we have good news: fixing an ingrown toenail isn’t difficult, won’t take very long, is virtually painless, and can even be made permanent.

At our office, we use a state-of-the-art procedure known as radiowave treatment to safely and quickly trim and remove the painful ingrown corner or edge of a nail. Because the device uses high frequency radio waves rather than a more basic cutting tool, the procedure offers many benefits over traditional ingrown toenail surgery, including:

  • No incisions
  • No scarring
  • Less bandaging and drainage
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Lower risk of complications
  • Faster return to wearing normal shoes

If desired, we can even remove a small portion of the tissue responsible for growing new nail, meaning that the nail edge causing problems will never return—a welcome relief for those who have suffered with ingrown toenails for years! Because this only affects a small portion rather than the entire nail, the end result can still look quite natural, and we work hard to ensure the best aesthetic outcome possible.

If you’re in pain and sick of a stubborn ingrown nail getting in the way of work, hobbies, and other activities, visit Dr. Daniel J. Walters and get it fixed for good. Fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (773) 586-0050 to set up an appointment at our Garfield Ridge office, just west of Midway Airport on W Archer Avenue.

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Ingrown Nails – Avoiding Trouble

If you’ve ever had an ingrown nail you realize how painful they can become. It’s important to get them treated BEFORE they become infected. One of the most common sites for foot problems and pain are the toenails. Redness, swelling, pain, or drainage coming from a toenail are often and indication of an infection or an ingrowing toenail.

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