What is Nail Fungus? | Minneapolis & St Paul

Have you ever been told during a pedicure that you may have nail fungus? Maybe the nail tech notices some discoloration and they ask you to monitor it. If that discoloration doesn’t grow out with the nail and it gets worse you may have a nail fungus. I have been in the situation where a nail tech mentioned something she saw on my toe nails. It is a little alarming to be told you may have a nail fungus. The nail tech asked me if I had had recently stubbed my toe. In that case I had stubbed my toe and the trauma to my nail had left a mark. I would notice that as the nail grew, the spot on my nail would go away. If this is not the case, have the nails checked out right away. The longer you let nail fungus go, the harder it will be to cure.

There are actually for classic types of nail fungus, medically known as onychomycosis. The most common form is distal subungual onychomycosis which invades the nail bed and the underside of the nail plate. The next type is called white superficial onychomycosis (WSO) is caused by a fungal invasion of the superficial layers of the nail plate and forms “white islands” on the plate. It accounts for only 10% of the onychomycosis cases. Sometimes keratin granulations, which are a reaction to nail polish, can cause the nails to turn a chalky white. WSO can be a misdiagnosis of keratin granulations. A lab test should be performed to confirm.

The third type is proximal subungual onychomycosis which is a fungal penetration of the newly formed nail plate through the proximal nail fold. It is least common in healthy people, but is found more commonly when the person is immunocompromised. Last but not least is candidal onychomycosis. This is a species invasion of the fingernails which usually occurs in persons who frequently immerse their hands in water. It normally requires prior damage of the nail by infection or trauma. I know hair stylists and nail techs that have been diagnosed with this type of fungus.

You are probably asking the question, what am I looking for? A nail fungus infection may begin as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As it spreads deeper into your nail, it may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and develop crumbling edges. It is usually not painful, just unsightly. Once a nail fungal infection begins, if not treated, it can persist indefinitely.

Fungus lives in warm, moist environments which include swimming pools and showers. It can invade your skin through tiny cuts both visible and invisible or through a small separation between your nail and nail bed. When your nails are continually exposed to warmth and moisture it is the perfect condition for fungi to grow and spread. Nail fungus occurs more in toenails than fingernails because the toenails are often confined in a dark, warm moist environment where fungus can thrive. Next we will focus on treatments for nail fungus and how to maintain healthy nails.

Common Mistakes Minnesota People Make With Toenail Fungus

You probably have toenail fungus if you notice that your toenails become whited, yellowed and thickened. As the disease advances, they become brittle and crumble around the edges. Untreated toenail fungus often causes the nail to separate from the nail bed. In some cases, the thickened nail is so deformed that it causes pain and infection like an ingrown toenail. Serious complications are uncommon.

There are several common mistakes that people in Minnesota make with toenail fungus.

1. Thinking that nail fungus will go away by itself.
People often mistakenly think that a nail fungus infection will go away on its own. Actually, nail fungus is usually a chronic disease that slowly progresses to involve more of the nails. Promptly seeking medical care is the best way to get rid of nail fungus.

2. Painting over the discolored toenails.
My daughter spends many hours to paint her fingernails and toenails in a variety of styles. Luckily, she doesn’t have nail fungus. But it is not a good idea if people in Minnesota simply try to cover up their nail fungus with nail polish. You may not know that nail polish may trap fungus and allow it to grow.

3. Covering up too much
Fungus loves moist environments. One mistake people in Minnesota make is covering their feet constantly, which prevent the feet from breathing, and therefore causing more infection. Let the feet breathe in open-toe shoes when you are at home. In the meantime, you should avoid walking in bare feet whenever you are in public areas to avoid spreading the fungus to others.

4. Digging and picking at the infected toenails.
Just like people try to fix everything at their home by themselves, some people try to file away at the crumbly edges or dig under the nail plate in an attempt to scrape away the fungus. Quite the contrary, this activity increases the chance to spread the fungus to others toenails. It is important that you avoid sharing clippers with anyone else at house.

5. Use topical creams only.
OTC topical creams appeal to people in Minnesota because they can be purchased without prescription and they are relatively cheap. However, topical creams do not work as well as oral medicine or laser treatments in curing fungal nail infections. 10% efficiency with topical creams compare to 90% efficiency with laser treatments. The efficiency of oral medication is in between topical creams and laser treatments, but it can potentially damage the liver.

Laser Treatment of Nail Fungus in Minneapolis

Nail fungus is a common nail problem and a humiliating physical defect. There is a process that all infected nails go through. First, the nail changes color, then grows thicker. As the infected area worsens, the nail becomes more fragile and parts break off, or in extreme cases, the whole nail falls off or severely deformed. If the problem is not solved, pain and secondary inflammation sets in. The toes look more unattractive. Sometimes, nail fungus could cause extreme pain due severe nail deformities.

Nail fungus frequently develop in the healthy people in Minnesota. Common risk factors include heavy perspiration or excessive moisture, extreme temperatures, chemical exposure, athlete’s foot, trauma, poor blood circulation and weakened immunity to infection. If left untreated for months, more severe infections occur, especially if certain medical conditions with immunosuppression are involved. People with cancer, diabetes or AIDS have the greatest difficulties in eradicating the problem.

The diagnosis of nail fungus is usually made clinically, lab tests can be made occasionally. Treatment is problematic if the infection is severe or deeply rooted, removing all of the symptoms and clearing fungus is a slow process that takes up to one year.

The Procedure Clinic in Minneapolis and St. Paul has medical professionals who are qualified to recommend the best solutions. Nail laser treatment offers a new alternative to traditional oral or topical medications, which carries a risk of liver damage and poor efficacy. Laser treatments of nail fungus typically take 15 minutes for up to 10 toes. Most patients in Minnesota need two to three treatments.

Signs and Symptoms of Nail Fungus |Minnesota

Fungal nail infections (onychomycosis) are most often seen in adults, affecting up to 20 percent of the adults in Minnesota. Infections occur more often in toenails than in fingernails in Minneapolis. The most common symptom of a fungal nail infection is the nail becoming thickened and discolored: white, black, yellow or green. As the infection progresses the nail can become brittle, with pieces breaking off or coming away from the toe or finger completely. If left untreated, the skin can become inflamed and painful underneath and around the nail. There may also be white or yellow patches on the nail bed or scaly skin next to the nail. There is usually no pain or other bodily symptoms, unless the disease is severe or develop ingrown toenail.

Nail fungus symptoms may or may not include:
• Loss of luster and shine
• Thickening of the nail,
• Brittleness of the nail
• Change in nail shape,
• Crumbling of the outside edges of the nail
• Debris trapped under the nail
• Loosening or lifting up of the nail,
• White or yellow streaks on the side of the nail
• Loss of the toenail itself.

People with onychomycosis in St. Paul may experience significant psychosocial problems due to the appearance of the nail, particularly when fingers, which are always visible, rather than toenails are affected. Fingernail infections are often followed by fungal infections of the feet. Nail fungus infections often start out through trauma. It can spread through poor hygiene, walking barefoot on contaminated surfaces and more. People who often go to public swimming pools, gyms, shower rooms, and/or people who sweat a lot often have these infections. Nail fungus thrives best in dark, warm, moist environments. You are at higher risk of getting a fungal nail infection if you get manicures or pedicures with tools that have been used on other people, have minor skin or nail injuries, have deformed nail or nail disease, have moist skin for a long time, have immune system problems, and or wear closed-toed footwear.

Signs and Symptoms of Nail Fungus | Minnesota

Fungal nail infections are most often seen in adults, affecting up to 20 percent of American adults in Minnesota. Infections occur more often in toenails than in fingernails in Minneapolis. The most common symptom of a fungal nail infection (onychomycosis) is the nail becoming thickened and discolored: white, black, yellow or green. As the infection progresses the nail can become brittle, with pieces breaking off or coming away from the toe or finger completely. If left untreated, the skin can become inflamed and painful underneath and around the nail. There may also be white or yellow patches on the nail bed or scaly skin next to the nail. There is usually no pain or other bodily symptoms, unless the disease is severe or develop ingrown toenail. Nail fungus symptoms may or may not include: brittleness, change in nail shape, crumbling of the outside edges of the nail, debris trapped under the nail, loosening or lifting up of the nail, loss of luster and shine, thickening of the nail, white or yellow streaks on the side of the nail, and in some cases, loss of the toenail itself.

People with onychomycosisin St. Paul may experience significant psychosocial problems due to the appearance of the nail, particularly when fingers, which are always visible, rather than toenails are affected. Fingernail infections are often followed by fungal infections of the feet. Nail fungus infections often start out through trauma. It can spread through poor hygiene, walking barefoot on contaminated surfaces and more. People who often go to public swimming pools, gyms, shower rooms, and/or people who sweat a lot often have these infections. Nail fungus thrives best in dark, warm, moist environments. You are at higher risk of getting a fungal nail infection if you get manicures or pedicures with tools that have been used on other people, have minor skin or nail injuries, have deformed nail or nail disease, have moist skin for a long time, have immune system problems, and or wear closed-toed footwear.

Nail Anatomy and Function | Minnesota

Nail fungus is a common disease in Minnesota. Many people in the Minneapolis and St Paul areas seek medical advices from their doctors every year. This blog briefly introduces the nail anatomy and function, which helps the patients to know more about nails.

Nail Anatomy

A nail covers the dorsal aspect of the distal parts of fingers and toes. The nails are made of a tough protein called keratin. The matrix is the tissue which the nail protects. It is the part of the nail bed that contains nerves, lymph and blood vessels. The matrix is responsible for producing cells that become the nail plate. The width and thickness of the nail plate is determined by the size, length, and thickness of the matrix. The paronychium is the border tissue around the nail and paronychia is an infection in this area.

Function

A nail has the function of protecting the distal phalanx from injuries. It also serves to enhance the sensitivity of the fingertip. Finally, the nail functions as a tool for the extended precision grip”.

Growth

The growing part of the nail is under the skin at the nail’s proximal end. In humans, fingernails grow up to four times faster than toenails. In humans, nails grow at an average rate of 3 mm a month. Fingernails require three to six months to regrow completely, and toenails require 12 to 18 months. Actual growth rate is dependent upon age, sex, season, exercise level, diet, and hereditary factors.

In contrast to the general believing that the nail is an impermeable barrier, it is much more permeable than the skin, and the composition of the nail includes 7-12% of water. This permeability has implications for penetration by harmful and medicinal substances.

Effect of nutrition

A lack of vitamin A, vitamin D, and calcium can cause dryness and brittleness. Not enough B12 vitamin can lead to excessive dryness, darkened nails, and rounded or curved nail ends. Insufficient intake of both vitamin A and B results in fragile nails with horizontal and vertical ridges. Protein is a building material for new nails; therefore, low dietary protein intake may cause white nail beds. A lack of protein combined with deficiencies in folic acid and vitamin C produce hangnails. Essential fatty acids play a large role in healthy skin as well as nails. Splitting and flaking of nails may be due to a lack of linoleic acid. Iron-deficiency anemia can lead to a pale color along with a thin, brittle, ridged texture.

Nail Fungus Laser Treatment for Minnesota Residents

Nail fungus in Minnesota is a very common problem. Nail fungus, which is also referred to as onychomyosis, can cause the nails to darken in color. The fungus can also cause the nails to develop a foul smell. Even though nail fungus in the Minnespolis and St. Paul areas is very common, many people are embarrassed to seek treatment. However, if you have nail fungus, then you will need to get it treated as soon as possible.

If this condition is not treated, then the fungal infection can spread to the other nails. It can also spread to your skin. Furthermore, if the fungal infection is on your toenails, then you may begin to have trouble putting on your shoes and walking due to nail deformity.

The good news is that there is laser treatment available to treat nail fungus. Laser treatment can be completed in 10 minutes. It does not cause any pain. There have been clinical studies done to confirm that laser treatment is about 87 percent effective at clearing up nail fungus. Furthermore, because laser treatment does not require the use of drugs, there are no long-term side effects associated with it. If you are interested in getting nail fungus laser treatment in Minnesota, then you should contact our providers.

There are several things that you can do to avoid getting nail fungus in the future. After you wash your feet, you need to make sure that you dry them off thoroughly. Fungus infections can very easily spread in public places, so you should not walk around in any public place without wearing shoes. You will also need to change your socks once a day. Furthermore, you should wear shoes that fit properly.

Myths of Nail Fungus in Minnesota

Both health and cosmetic matters are affected by nail fungus, which needs to be treated seriously. Many sufferers in Minnesota tend to ignore it and they live with these consequences for their entire life. There are some popular myths involving nail fungus. While you should always seek nail fungus treatment when you get the infections, understanding the myths will help you understand more about the disease.

Myth #1: Poor hygiene is the cause of nail fungus.

Not true. Soap will get rid of the bacteria on your skin but no matter how hard you scrub with soap, you will not get rid of the fungus. This myth may have started because many times nail and skin problems start from a bacterial infection in which there is a wound or opening in the nail or skin.

Myth #2: Toenail fungus infections are rare.

False. Studies have shown that about 60% of all of us will contract a fungus infection sometime in our life. 60% is not by any means rare, so next time your friends gawk at something you didn’t ask for, remember that there’s a good chance they’ll get it someday too.

Myth #3: You can cure a toenail fungus with a topical solution.

Not true. What is true is that the cure rate of topical agent is less than 5-10%, probably for some superficial infection because the fungal infection you’re fighting usually lives under the nail and a topical solution must penetrate the nail to be effective. Topical solutions do not have the capability to penetrate that deep into the nail bed –doing so it time consuming and almost impossible.

Myth #4: Toenail fungus can’t be cured.

Not true. Your infection most definitely can be cured, but it depends on the methods you choose to employ. It takes only 10 minutes for the laser treatment over a period of 2-3 treatments to cure the nail fungus. If you choose to take oral medication, it will take a commitment for at least 3 months plus liver function tests.

Myth #5: In order to cure a toenail infection, the nail must be removed.

Not true. Most patients with nail fungus can be treated medically without any surgery, either with laser treatments or oral medications. A few patients may need to have nails removed if they develop severe nail thickness and deformity or have significant pain due to the ingrown toenail.

Nail Fungus Prevention in Minnesota

Nail fungus is a growing problem for both men and women in Minneapolis and St Paul. It is important to know that it is not caused by poor hygiene. It takes just a small cut in the nail for a fungus to enter. It can easily be spread from person to person. Fungus occurs in toe nails more than fingernails. That is due to the fact that Toenails grow out slower and are usually in a warm moist environment in the shoes. The best way to prevent getting a fungus is to not walk barefoot in a public environment such as a locker room. It’s suggested to not even walk barefoot in a hotel room or use a hotel shower without wearing flip flop sandals.

You’re more likely to get fungus nail infection if you are over 60, have an injury like an ingrown toenail or a hangnail, live in a hot humid environment, wear shoes that make your feet feel moist and sweaty, and have a weak immune system or diabetes. Make sure your shoes are wide at the toes and give some room to breathe. Don’t wear shoes that cause your feet to get moist and sweaty. Change into clean dry socks as needed.

If your nails start to turn yellow or white in color, become thicker or start to get brittle and crumble, it’s a good time to see us to get treated. Don’t wait until it becomes advanced, it can lead to permanent nail damage.

Have Embarrassing Nail Fungus in Minneapolis Area? Come to the Procedure Clinic for Treatment!

Nail fungus can cause nails to become cracked, brittle and dry. The nail can become discolored with a yellow, brown or black coloring. Fungus of the nails is embarrassing, but that should not stop someone from being treated for it. Oftentimes, fungus can collect under the nail and you might notice a bad odor.

Many people in the Minneapolis and St Paul areas try to self-diagnose nail fungus, but seeing a professional like Dr. Shu in Minneapolis at the Procedure Clinic for nail fungus treatment in is important. There are doctors available who treat nail fungus in Minneapolis, as well as doctors who treat nail fungus in St. Paul area. The doctor will inspect the nail, and if they feel there is an infection with fungus, tests may be performed.

New Toenail laser treatment gives you a new substitute to other traditional options, oral medication, which has a chance of liver damage, and a nail lacquer that will lack efficiency.Treatments usually take 15 minutes, and patients may need three treatments.

Oral medications are prescribed by your doctor, which are taken for approximately 12 weeks. Often, a patient who has nail fungus is also given a prescription of polish that is applied to the nail that is infected for approximately 50 weeks. Your physician will decide which prescriptions will work best for you.

There are also over-the-counter medications that are often used, but the effectiveness of those is not yet proven. You could end up spending too much time, effort and money on something that will not work in the long run, and in the end, you will end up calling your physician anyway.

There are also home remedies that can be tried as well. These vary all the way from Listerine to vinegar. Some people say they work wonders, and some do not have any positive results from these. Some of the remedies may work for one person, but not the next. Trying some of these is up to you.

One of the steps taken to prevent nail fungus is keeping the feet and hands dry. Fungus can get into your body through tiny openings or cuts near the nail. Always wear sandals or shoes around swimming pools, lockers or restrooms to avoid getting a fungal infection from someone else infected. Dry your feet often, because fungi is attracted to moist, wet areas as well as dark places. If you are someone who is susceptible to fungal infections, change your socks on a daily basis.

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