Nail Fungus

Welcome! Since 1994, Nashville Podiatry has been working with patients to provide the best podiatric care for patients in the North Nashville area. Dr. Daniel Mendoza's experience in podiatry is coupled with genuine concern for his patients. All our staff is dedicated to your comfort and prompt attention as well. Our goal is to help you maintain healthy feet.

This web site provides you with an overview of our practice and the field of podiatry. As you navigate the site, you'll find information about Dr Mendoza's practice philosophy, our office locations, insurance policies, and appointment scheduling procedures. Please browse the site at your convenience and feel free to contact us with any questions. You can also request an appointment by clicking here.

You'll find a lot of valuable information on the web site about foot problems, diagnoses and treatments. We believe informed patients are better prepared to make decisions about their health and well being. We encourage you to review this information to help you understand any health concerns you may face.

What is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist, also called a doctor of podiatric medicine, is a specialist who provides medical diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems, such as bunions, heel pain, spurs, hammertoes, neuromas, ingrown toenails, warts, corns and calluses. A podiatrist also renders care of sprains, fractures, infections, and injuries of the foot, ankle and heel. In addition to undergraduate medical school training, podiatrists also attend graduate school for a doctorate degree in podiatry. Podiatrists are required to take state and national exams, as well as be licensed by the state in which they practice.

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, there are an estimated 15,000 practicing podiatrists in the United States. Podiatrists are in demand more than ever today because of a rapidly aging population. In addition, according to the association, foot disorders are among the most widespread and neglected health problems affecting people in this country.

Typically, podiatrists:

  • Consult with patients and other physicians on how to prevent foot problems.
  • Diagnose and treat tumors, ulcers, fractures, skin and nail diseases, vascular problems and deformities.
  • Perform surgeries to correct or remedy such problems as bunions, clawtoes, fractures, hammertoes, infections, ruptured Achilles, and other ligaments and tendons.
  • Prescribe therapies and perform diagnostic procedures such as x-rays, MRI, CAT scans, ultrasound and lab tests.
  • Prescribes or fits patients with inserts called orthotics that correct walking patterns.
  • Treat conditions such as: bone disorders, bunions, corns, calluses, cysts, heel spurs, infections, ingrown nails, and plantar fasciitis.

Many people don't realize they have a fungal nail problem and, therefore, don't seek treatment. Yet, fungal toenail infections are a common foot health problem and can persist for years without ever causing pain. The disease, characterized by a change in a toenail's color, is often considered nothing more than a mere blemish. Left untreated, however, it can present serious problems.

Also referred to as onychomycosis, fungal nails are infections underneath the surface of the nail, which may also penetrate the nail. Fungal nail infections are often accompanied by a secondary bacterial and/or yeast infection in or about the nail plate, which ultimately can lead to difficulty and pain when walking or running. Symptoms may include discoloration, brittleness, loosening, thickening, or crumbling of the nail.

A group of fungi, called dermophytes, easily attack the nail and thrive on keratin, the nail's protein substance. In some cases, when these tiny organisms take hold, the nail may become thicker, yellowish-brown, or darker in color, and foul smelling. Debris may collect beneath the nail plate, white marks may frequently appear on the nail plate, and the infection is capable of spreading to other toenails, the skin, or even the fingernails.

Nail bed injury may make the nail more susceptible to all types of infection, including fungal infection. Those who suffer chronic diseases, such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immune-deficiency conditions, are especially prone to fungal nails. Other contributory factors may be a history of Athlete's Foot or excessive perspiration.

You can prevent fungal nail infections by taking these simple precautions:

  • Exercise proper hygiene and regularly inspect your feet and toes.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry.
  • Wear shower shoes in public facilities whenever possible.
  • Clip nails straight across so that the nail does not extend beyond the tip of the toe.
  • Use a quality foot powder (talcum, not cornstarch) in conjunction with shoes that fit well and are made of materials that breathe.
  • Avoid wearing excessively tight hosiery, which promotes moisture. Socks made of synthetic fiber tend to "wick" away moisture faster than cotton or wool socks, especially for those with more active lifestyles.
  • Disinfect home pedicure tools and don't apply polish to nails suspected of infection.

Depending on the type of infection you have, over-the-counter liquid antifungal agents may not prevent a fungal infection from recurring. A topical or oral medication may need to be prescribed, and the diseased nail matter and debris removed, a process called debridement. Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medications.

In severe cases, surgical treatment may be required to remove the infected nail. Permanent removal of a chronically painful nail, which has not responded to any other treatment, permits the fungal infection to be cured and prevents the return of a deformed nail.