Does one or several of your nails look a little different than they did once upon a time? Have they turned a yellowish / brownish colour and appear crumbly when cut?
If the answer is yes, then you may be suffering from a nail infection.
What are Fungal and Nail infections?
Nail infections are caused by the overgrowth of fungi under, in or on top of nails.
This usually occurs when a fungus called a dermatophyte becomes pathogenic and causes a discolouration of one or several of your toenails.
What should you look for?
When nails are infected, they can become thicker yet brittle and retain an unpleasant smell.
If infected nails are left untreated, they may become inflamed, separated from the nail bed and cause a level of discomfort.
How to avoid nail infections
Maintaining good foot hygiene is essential in the prevention of nail infections. Washing your feet regularly and avoid going barefoot in public centres such as pools or gym showers.
In addition, never share nail clippers or files with other people.
Keeping your nails short will prevent germ-prone substances getting trapped under the nail and wearing footwear that breathes properly will reduce the moistened environment infections thrive in.
How to treat nail infections and when to see a podiatrist
If you believe you have a nail infection, never wear the same socks two days in a row. In addition, air your shoes out regularly and vary your footwear as much as possible.
Treatment of nail infections range from an anti-fungal application directly on the nails, through to prescription of an oral medication.
The first step is seeing your podiatrist, who will assist in a diagnosis and prepare the nails to help fight the infection.
If you have an issue with your nails and need some expert advice give us a call on 1300 185 335 or visit us at one of our Up&Running Podiatry clinics to arrange an appointment.