Nailing it: treating and preventing fungal toenail infections
At this time of year, we often don’t see our toes from the morning shower to getting into bed at night. It’s all too easy to forget to check our toenails and feet, until something unusual happens. If you’ve noticed yellowing or thickening of your toenails, it’s probably caused by a fungal nail infection. It’s a common issue: an estimated 20% of Canadians have one. It’s also treatable, and here at Hunt Footcare we can help treat toenail infections and keep your feet healthy and infection-free.
What causes nail infections?
A fungal toenail infection, or onychomycosis, is caused by a fungus that grows on your nail. As a result, your toenails can become discoloured, unusually thick, and brittle. If left untreated, such infections can lead to split and broken nails, infections, and potential nail loss.
Thickened nails (onychauxis)
Onychauxis, or hypertrophy of the nail plate, causes your toe nails to grow abnormally thick. This can happen if you are regularly wearing badly fitting shoes or boots, especially if there is insufficient room in the toe section. Thick nails is more often seen in seniors and older adults, but can also happen if you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.
You can buy any number of over the counter treatments for thickened nails, but if you want to avoid medication, we can help. At Hunt Footcare, we offer a simple treatment which involves reducing the thickness of the mail with a special drill. It’s pain-free, drugs-free and uses no chemicals, and we’ve had great results from just a single visit.
Contact your local Hunt Footcare clinic and book an appointment
How to prevent fungal nail infections
There are a number of things you can do to prevent fungal nail infections from taking hold, including:
Wearing shoes that fit properly
Well-fitted footwear is very important for overall foot health. Apart from fungal nail infections, ill-fitting shoes can also rub your feet resulting in corns and blisters. Over-tight footwear will squeeze your toes together making them more prone to ingrowing toenails. Wet and warm toes pushed together by footwear can develop erythrasma, a bacterial infection between your toes.
Investing in custom orthotics
What you wear on your feet will also affect your gait (how you walk). If your gait isn’t right, it will result in additional weight and pressure on parts of your foot. Poor gait can cause foot and ankle pain, sore heels, lower leg pain and even back pain.
At Hunt Footcare, we offer gait analysis to check if you are walking well, and help correct any imbalances or lack of support with orthotics custom made just for you. Custom orthotics are slip in soles that are moulded to your unique foot shapes, to correct your foot position and give the best support possible.
Discover more about our custom orthotics service here (link)
Keeping your feet clean and dry
Wet, sodden shoes are a breeding ground for bacterial infections and can cause painful conditions such as trench foot. If your feet get wet in your shoes, take the shoes off as soon as possible, wash your feet, and properly dry them (including between your toes). Put on a clean pair of socks and ensure your footwear is fully dry inside and out before wearing again.
Avoiding sharing nail clippers
Fungal and bacterial infections can be passed from one person to another on tools such as nail clippers or shared nail files. Always use your own tools, and wash with hot water and soap and dry after use to keep them clean and infection free. The same applies to sharing towels – just don’t!
Struggling with fungal toenail infections?
Call any of our three feet clinics and make an appointment.