Southern Oregon Podiatrists Answer Your Top Questions About Foot and Ankle Pain
Stop questioning your foot and ankle pain. Start getting answers! Read our FAQ articles for tips from our Southern Oregon podiatrists to help you feel better and get healthy.
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Is laser treatment for fungal nails safe and effective?
Laser treatment for fungal nails is still a fairly new advancement in medical technology. As with anything new, patients sometimes wonder if this form of treatment is safe and effective.
To start, laser therapy is completely safe. All drug products and medical equipment used in our country has to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This agency is responsible for ensuring the safety of these things that can have tremendous impacts on our physical health. Laser therapy for toenail fungus is FDA-approved.
Now, being safe and being painless aren’t exactly the same. We have good news, though – fungal nail laser treatment is also painless. You may experience a slight warming sensation, but this is rather minimal.
With regards to effectiveness, laser treatment eradicates the fungus responsible for your discolored, unsightly nails. Before this technology was developed, there were two options for fungal toenail treatment – oral and topical medication. Laser therapy combines the best parts of both, without their respective downsides.
Topical medication can address fungus on the surface of a nail, but cannot reach spores living underneath. Laser light safely travels through the nail to reach those hard-to-get spores. Oral medication travels through the bloodstream and can get to the spores, but it may produce undesired side effects. There are no side effects with laser therapy.
Given that laser therapy is a safe, painless, and effective way to treat toenail fungus, there’s no need to live with the embarrassment of toenails discolored by a fungal infection. Contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle online today, or schedule an appointment for our Medford, OR office by calling (541) 776-3338.
Why are my toenails yellow and splotchy?
There are various reasons toenails can become yellow, but the most likely explanation is a case of toenail fungus. Fungal infections in the toenails are rather common. The responsible fungi are microscopic—so you will not see them and know to avoid the tiny spores—and often reside in areas where people walk barefoot (gym locker room floors, communal showering areas, indoor pool decks).
Beyond fungal toenails, other causes of yellow toenails include diabetes, tuberculosis, bronchiectasis, jaundice, psoriasis, and thyroid problems. In some cases, nails become yellowed simply due to natural aging processes. There is also an extremely rare genetic disorder known as “yellow nail syndrome,” which can be seen in conjunction with lymphedema.
If your toenails are yellow due to a fungal infection or diabetes, be sure to come in and see us here at Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle. As discussed in the video above, we offer laser treatment for fungal nails that is both effective and safe. Keep in mind the fact that toenail fungus will not go away on its own. There are also special measures you need to take with regards to diabetic foot care and potential infections.
Of course, you should request an appointment with our Medford office if you are suffering from any other foot or ankle condition as well. For more information about either foot care or our practice, or to schedule your visit, simply give us a toll-free call at (844) 899-6826 and our staff will be glad to help.
Why is my toenail turning black?
There are various reasons why toenails turn black and discolored. Some of the more common include physical trauma or injury to the nail, fungal infection, running (or other athletic activities), and tight, ill-fitting shoes. In extremely rare cases, black toenails are the indication of malignant melanoma.
In many cases, the black coloration is an indication of blood that has pooled between the nail and its corresponding nailbed. This may involve either the entire nail or just a part of it, and can cause tremendous discomfort due to pressure from fluid buildup. (We can safely drain the fluid and relieve the pressure.)
Fungal infections can also lead to nail discoloration. When this is the case, you will need treatment that may include topical or oral medication or laser therapy, since the condition does not clear up on its own.
When it comes to malignant melanoma, early detection and treatment offer the best chance for successful recovery. For this reason, it is a wise decision to make your appointment with Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C., when you first note discoloration. Call us at (541) 776-3338 or schedule your appointment with our Medford, OR office online.
How can I avoid toenail fungus?
We treat many patients who come to us with discolored, thickened, and crumbling nails from a toenail fungus infection that has taken over. This common foot problem can become unsightly and difficult to treat in the later stages, making it very important to do what you can to prevent it from the start.
Prevention only takes a little time and effort, and it will pay off when it comes to the health of your toenails. The fungus that leads to this infection is most often found in warm, moist environments, so always wear shoes in public areas such as showers, locker rooms and pools. Keep your feet clean and dry whenever possible and your toenails nicely trimmed. Don’t pick at the skin around your nails, because a minor opening or injury becomes vulnerable to infection. Wearing socks with a synthetic fabric to wick away moisture will help remove dampness from your feet that would invite such an infection to grow.
If you see a small spot on your nail, it could be the beginning of toenail fungus. Be proactive and call Dr. Evan Merrill for treatment. You can reach Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle in Medford, OR at (541) 776-3338.
Who is most susceptible to nail fungus?
Your risk for getting nail fungus infections depends largely on your exposure to the microorganisms that cause it and some personal health factors. Fungus thrives in warm, moist atmospheres, so you’re likely to encounter it in hot, humid climates and community places with a lot of damp air, like public pools, locker rooms, and saunas. If your feet are frequently sweaty and you come in contact with the fungus, you’re more likely to become infected. Preexisting conditions like diabetes, psoriasis, poor circulation, or an otherwise weakened immune system also make you more susceptible.
A few other factors can make a difference, like age and gender. Both men and people over 50 are more likely to develop an infection. Fortunately, there are also many different ways to prevent fungal toenails. If you notice changes in your nails, don’t take it for granted and assume it will go away. You could have contracted a nail fungus. Contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. for more information or an appointment to take care of the problem before it spirals out of control. Visit the contact page online or call our Medford office at (541) 776-3338 to reach us.
Why is my toenail discolored?
If you notice that your toenails seem discolored, there are a couple of possible reasons. First, if the color is reddish or purple, it is likely the nail sustained some bruising and blood is pooling underneath it. If you see yellow, brown or grayish portions of the nail, then the problem is likely a fungal infection.
A fungus enters through a tiny space between your nail and the underlying nail bed on your toe. The infection often starts out as a small white or yellow spot and progresses from there. If left untreated, your nail can become thick, brittle, and deformed. A fungal infection does not go away on its own, so we encourage you to contact our office for treatment as soon as you notice any color changes in your nail. Topical or oral medications and laser therapy are the most common treatments for infected nail. Dr. Evan Merrill can find what works best for you. Call our office today at (541) 776-3338 or find more information online.
Will nail fungus return after treatment?
After all the care and effort that patients put into recovering from fungal nails, one of the worst things that can happen is the recurrence of the condition. While many individuals suffer from the return of this embarrassing problem, there are many steps that you can take to avoid it.
As nail fungus is resolved by the growth of new nail tissue, keeping the area dry, clean, and treated should be a priority for 6-12 months following an initial exam. Our office also has many recommendations for socks and footwear that will aid in your recovery. These toe problems are difficult to fully eradicate and require vigilance in foot care to decrease the risk of its return.
Now that your nails are looking good again, our wonderful staff will help you keep your feet healthy. For information on nail fungus prevention, contact our Medford, OR office at 541-776-3338, or schedule an appointment with Dr. Evan Merrill online.
What does a fungal nail infection look like?
If you have a fungal nail infection, the whole nail may be affected or only a smaller area. Several nails can be affected at once or just one nail. The easiest physical signs of a fungal nail infection to spot are discoloration. The top of the nail will become noticeably more dull and lack in its natural shine. Often the nail will turn to a dark green-ish or dark yellow-ish hue. This is caused by debris and fungus building up under the nail.
If you have a nail that is infected, it may be painless at first. However, these infections can cause nails to split, break, and rise up from the nail bed, sometimes causing pain underneath it.
The nail will often become brittle, causing it to crumble or become ragged. Because of these symptoms, the natural shape of the nail can also become distorted and change.
What are my treatment options for nail fungus?
Nail fungus can be a particularly stubborn foot condition to treat. Oral medications are commonly prescribed, but they may not be appropriate for people with other serious medical concerns due to side effects. Antifungal nail creams are largely ineffective at eradicating the fungus. However, these topical creams can be prescribed alongside oral medications for competent treatment. In mild cases of nail fungus, a physician can prescribe an anti-fungal nail polish. Laser therapy has shown to be very effective in nail fungus treatment. The laser irradiates the toenail, killing off the fungus without harm to the surrounding tissues. In rare cases, surgery to remove the nail may be suggested to alleviate pain immediately.
For information on the nail fungus treatments that we provide, call our office at 541-776-3338. You can also schedule an appointment onlinewith our office in Medford, OR.
Why does nail fungus occur more in the toenails than the fingernails?
The type of fungus that causes these infections typically belongs to a group called dematophytes. This fungus thrives in dark, moist environments like locker rooms and public swimming pools. In many cases, your toenails and feet are the perfect breeding ground for these fungi due to their confinement in shoes for extended periods of time. Your shoes are dark, warm, and can also be wet from sweat- the three factors that bacteria and fungus love!
If you wear the same shoes every day, you are at an increased risk for fungal infections. By wearing the same pair, you are not allowing time for the inside of the shoes to air out. Fungus is much less likely to thrive in an environment that is dry and cool. Your fingernails, however, are not usually confined to dark, warm places for long periods of time, and are washed regularly.