How do I know if I have fungus in my Toenail? - Advanced Physical Medicine
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How do I know if I have fungus in my Toenail?

Many people come into the office disappointed with their toenails.  Sometimes they are using a self remedy or store bought product, and it  is not working.  Sometimes the medication prescribed by another doctor is not working.  Sometimes the condition is getting worse or spreading, and the patient does not know what to do.  Toenails can develop many changes: thickness, discoloration, pain, blood underneath, ridges, or become crumbly.  Often this is caused by fungus, which invades the nail. Fungi grow and thrive in  warm, moist places like our shoes and socks because our feet are often sweaty.  Additionally, fungal growth is common in locker rooms, pools, and gyms because of the warm environment.  

Fungal nails can get worse if untreated.  However, the only way to know for sure if a nail is fungal is to take a biopsy or piece of nail and send it for testing.  Usually, the report comes back and states that there is indeed a fungus in the nail.  Then, topical or oral medication is prescribed to treat the condition.  There are risks, benefits, and different success rates for the different medications, and these are discussed prior to treatment.  Sometimes biopsies come back and show that a toenail exhibits changes just from trauma.  This can be caused by repetitive pressure from running, tight shoegear, or a job that requires repeated movements of the toes and foot.  There are treatments that can improved the appearance and thickness of the toenail, even if fungus is not present.  Additionally, changes in shoegear are helpful, such as buying shoes that are not too tight, have a wider or higher toebox, or have softer material over the toes.  

 What should I expect from a nail biopsy?

 A piece of nail must be cut off as far back as possible on the toenail.  The procedure usually does not require anesthetic.  Antibiotic ointment and a band aid my be necessary after the piece of nail is removed. 

 If you have changes to your toenail, make an appointment today at Advanced Physical Medicine.  Dr. Bender is a foot and ankle specialist with thirteen years of private practice experience in Chicagoland.  Dr. Bender was an instructor at William Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine for nine years and recently left teaching to devote her full attention to her private practice.  Dr. Bender was an ice skater for 19 years, and this resulted in many problems with her feet.  After three foot surgeries, she know how it feels to have foot pain!  Schedule your appointment today!  708-763-0580 Oak Park and 773-776-3166 Chicago/63rd

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