How to spot, treat and get rid of a fungal nail infection.
At SO Podiatry we offer effective fungal nail infection treatment with rapid diagnosis and treatment for the whole environment to prevent reinfection.
If you are suffering from a fungal nail infection, then you are not alone. Its medical name, Onychomycosis, is most often caused by Athletes foot spreading from the skin to the toenail. It can also be caused by trauma to the nail and dermatophytes then invade the nail plate.
The third most common skin infection in the world is caused often by the Dermatophyte - Tinea Pedis, and is more commonly known as Athlete's foot. Athlete’s foot infections can lead to itching, inflamed, uncomfortable skin which can sometimes have a foul smelling odour, and can have a huge and detrimental impact to normal life if left untreated.
The pictures shown on this page illustrate very early stages right through to what an infection can end up looking like if left untreated. These fungal nail infection pictures highlight the importance of good foot health so you can carry on with the activities you enjoy such as yoga or hiking.
A mild case of athlete’s foot may be easy to treat using an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream. However as three percent of the adult UK population are said to have a fungal nail infection and recurrence rates of infections have been found to be as high as 87%, it would be wise to make an appointment with your local and professional podiatrist.
Although you can speak to your GP, you may be advised to try over the counter treatments first, these can take up to 12 months to take effect. They may also require a sample to be tested at a lab which can lead to further delays in treatment.
You can learn more by visiting the British Association of Dermatologists page on Fungal Nail Infections.
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Five Minute Fungus Test
At SO Podiatry we can confirm a fungal toenail infection using a dermatophyte Five Minute Fungus Test, and if confirmed we can offer immediate treatment which includes a 360° Foot and Nail Recovery package to treat the whole environment and help prevent reinfection.
~ Rapid and reliable results within five minutes
~ Does not require sending nail samples to a lab
~ Can detect the presence of all common dermatophytes
~ Treatment includes a 360° Foot and Nail Recovery package
Fungal nail or Athlete’s Foot infection FAQ’s
I’m not sporty, can I still get athlete’s foot?
Despite the name, Athlete's foot is not limited to sporty people because it spreads via direct contact with the infection and through skin particles left on towels, shoes, or floors for example in shared homes or public spaces. Your chances of contracting a fungal nail infection can depend on many things, men and the elderly are more likely to succumb and if you’ve experienced a trauma to your toes and nails this can also increase your chances. If you have an impaired immune system or are diabetic then you could be at greater risk of infection, and due to the high risk of bacterial infections it’s important to seek medical care at the first sign of athlete’s foot if you fall into this high risk group.
What causes a fungal toenail infection?
Fungi called Dermatophytes live on your skin quite harmlessly. In the right conditions, a fungal infection can cause these dermatophytes to multiply and thrive, causing a huge increase in the incidence of dermatophytes leading to complaints such as Athlete’s foot. In fungal infections of the nail and skin the main dermatophytes involved are Trichophyton Rubrum and Trichophyton Interdigitale. Dermatophytes thrive in warm, dark, moist areas, which is why feet, shoes and socks are the perfect climate for them. It is really important to keep good personal hygiene, wash your socks and rotate your shoes.
What does a fungal nail infection look like?
Once on the skin, a fungal toe infection can transfer to fingernails and toenails, although this can take around two years and it is more common for toenails to be affected. The condition is then known as Onychomycosis, with symptoms including white or yellow nail discolouration, thickening of the nail, and separation of the nail from the nail bed. Your skin may feel itchy and the fungal infection can make your skin turn red, dried, and cracked. Your skin also may get thicker and turn white as well as being flaky and swollen. Small blisters may form on your foot, and you may suffer from sores that leak fluid and have a bad smell.
What is the best toenail fungus treatment?
Although there are many over the counter athlete foot treatments, these can take roughly a year to start working, which for some, isn’t an option - especially if the infection is impacting your quality of life. By seeking advice and treatment from a professional podiatrist you will receive a diagnosis of your fungal nail infection almost immediately and then start your treatment and recovery process a lot quicker. Your podiatrist will do this by assessing your symptoms and closely looking at the skin on your feet. Nail fungal infections often require testing to confirm a diagnosis, but a qualified and professional podiatrist should be able to offer you a rapid and reliable test with results often within 5 minutes and with 97% accuracy. You will then be offered a course of treatment to get your feet and nails infection free and looking as good as new.
What is involved in a fungal nail infection test?
For many years Podiatrists have been able to identify and advise on treatment for fungal nail conditions, however up until recently testing required GP involvement and took up to 3 weeks for results to return. Previously the patient would be required to obtain a nail clipping kit from their GP, take a sample, and then return the sample to the GP, who would then send this to a lab to be tested, waiting around 21 days for results. This obviously caused a massive delay in diagnosis to treatment, plus the accuracy of the patient taking the sample themselves is unlikely. At SO Podiatry we are able to test a sample of your nail in clinic and provide results in 5 minutes, along with a course of action for treatment.
Five Minute Fungus tests with an accuracy of 97% and provides rapid results within 5 minutes. It does not require samples to be sent to a lab, and the test can be carried in the clinic on the day of your appointment.
The first step is to examine the foot, skin and nails, next a sample of the infected nail is taken - this is just a small trim to the nail itself. Using a testing system similar to that of a pregnancy test, we look for the presence of onychomycosis in the nail. The test confirms if there is the presence of the dermatophytes or if the sample is clear. Once the results are in, a tailored treatment personal to you is created. Your plan will include SO Podiatry’s 360° Foot and Nail Recovery package which includes treatment for the skin, nails, your socks and shoes - we believe in treating the whole environment.
A letter will also be sent to your GP with your results, along with details of your treatment plan.
Once treatment is complete the nail will need to be re-tested to confirm the fungus is gone, following the same process.
Advantages of the Dermatophyte Five Minute Fungus Test
~ Easy to use
~ Rapid results in just a few minutes, whilst the patient is in the chair
~ No need for sending nail clippings to the laboratory and wait for results
~ Scientifically proven to give accurate and reliable results
~ Detects presence of all the common dermatophytes in a small sample of nail
~ Immediate diagnosis, allowing treatment of the infection without delay.
How long will it take for my foot and nails to recover following treatment for a fungal toe nail infection?
Treatment for fungal nails can take from 6 to 12 months for resolution. By seeking treatment from a professional podiatrist you will receive diagnosis quicker, and therefor effective treatment can begin and your toes may appear to look better quicker. However you should be aware that for some people it can take up to 12 months for full nail regrowth and renewal.
What can I do to avoid a fungal toenail infection or athlete's foot?
There are a few simple steps that may help you avoid getting athlete’s foot. Good personal hygiene is critical, especially if you have an impaired immune system. Additional precautions include washing and thoroughly drying your feet after exercising, limiting or even avoiding using public swimming pools and shared showers as well as keeping your feet cool by wearing sandals when possible. It is also good practice to wash your socks on a high temperature after wearing them, rotating pairs of shoes and trying to avoid wearing thick socks and closed, heavy shoes.