Don’t panic now, but unless we start living in sterile bubbles, we’ll never truly be safe from fungi stomping all over our foot health. We’re exposed to fungal spores in the environment regularly, especially in wet, humid public areas like gyms and swimming pool showers. While infections can be warded off with good foot care habits, it’s good to know more about them so you can be ready for if they do happen.
Fungal nail infection or onychomycosis is a relatively common condition in Singapore, where it’s hot and humid all year long. Fungal infections are associated with athlete’s foot, a widely-known condition that – as its name suggests – often occurs to athletes who are constantly sweaty, and spending lots of time in gyms. They also cause a great number of other troublesome conditions, like thickened toenails.
Signs of a fungal infection include a mild brownish-yellowish or yellowish-greenish discoloration, which starts as a small patch and gradually extends towards the nail root. You don’t want this – when the infection gets worse, the nail starts to become crumbly and flaky, and the nail itself thickens as the fungus eats away at the keratin bonds that make your nails strong and healthy.
How do you treat fungal infections, then? Laser treatments have not proven to be very effective, and while pharmacies may provide anti-fungal oral or topical medications, they may not always be effective especially in severe cases. Oral medications may also have harmful side effects. In the worst-case scenario, if the infection has spread to the nail bed, the nail itself may have to be removed to treat the nail bed. Afterward, it may take up to 12-18 months for the nail to grow back. Our podiatrists generally recommend a combination of treatments to maximize efficacy.
Ultimately, early detection and treatment is the best course of action, as severe fungal infections tend to have a higher chance of recurrence as well. If you’re having issues with decidedly unfun fungi, book a consultation with us today to see what can be done for you.