Toenail Fungus & Treat Verrucas
There are many questions surrounding toenail fungus and verrucas on feet. In this blog, we’ll answer the main ones. Keep reading to learn more.
First Off, What Is Toenail Fungus?
If you’re showing signs of discoloured toenails and other unpleasant symptoms, you may just be dealing with toenail fungus.
A fungal nail infection develops from the overgrowth of fungi in, under, or on the nail. It’s common knowledge that fungi thrive in warm and moist environments, so the nails on your feet have ideal conditions for fungi to naturally overpopulate. Most fungal nail infections are caused by the very same fungi that cause “athlete’s foot”, ringworm, and “jock itch”.
The rapid overpopulation of fungi that are already present in your body can cause nail infections. Fungal nail infections are quite communicable, so if you’ve come in contact with someone who had a fungal infection, you may have contracted it too. Toenails tend to be affected more than fingernails, since they’re usually confined to shoes, which are the ideal breeding grounds for these fungi.
Pedicures at nail salons can also lead to fungal nail infections, which is why you need to make sure the tools are cleaned and disinfected regularly and well. Tools like nail cutters and files can very easily spread fungal nail infections from person to person if they’re not sanitised properly.
Toenail fungus is a form of infection that basically travels through the cracks in your nail / the cuts on your skin. It can change the colour of your toenail and make it much thicker than normal. It can also be very painful to deal with. Since toes are usually kept warm and may be damp due to sweat, they act as the perfect breeding ground for fungus, allowing it to thrive in these conditions. There are different types of fungi and even yeast that can affect the different parts of your nail. When left without treatment, the fungus can spread to your skin, the other toenails, and sometimes even your fingernails!
What Does Toenail Fungus Look Like?
A very common question that gets asked is “what does toenail fungus look like?”. It’s good to know the symptoms so you can know how to treat your fungal toenail.
What does toenail fungus look like, you ask? Here’s your answer:
A change in colour of your toenail, to either yellow, brown, and even white
Thickened and often misshapen looking toenail
Chalkiness / cloudiness in spots on your toenail
Your toenail is separated from your nail bed
Lots of breaks and cracks in one or multiple spots on your toenail
There are many ways toenail fungus can alter the visual appearance of your toenails. That’s why it’s important to know what it looks like, so you can treat it before it gets more serious.
If you find yourself noticing any of the above symptoms, you may just be dealing with toenail fungus and you should seek treatment with a podiatrist accordingly.
What Is A Verruca?
Verrucas are a type of wart that develop on your feet. This type of wart is specific to the feet and is surprisingly common. Verruca infections are usually harmless, and so many people aren’t even aware of their existence. You can either have a single verruca that develops on your foot, or you can also have a cluster of verrucae that covers a greater area on your foot.
Verruca infections are a result of a viral infection called the Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV for short. There are so many types of HPV, but in particular HPV 1, 2, and 4 are the subtypes that are most likely to lead to verrucae development.
How Can You Tell If You Have A Verruca Infection?
Chances are you’ve had a Verruca before and just confused it for a corn or a wart. But there are some key identifying factors when it comes to Verrucas which can help you single them out from all these other ailments. Verrucas are actually an infection caused by HPV and can be painful in comparison to normal warts or corns. They tend to form on the soles of your feet and may have tiny black dots in the centre, where blood has clotted in tiny vessels on the surface of your skin.
They can be painful when you put weight on them, kind of like stepping on a needle. They also tend to look flat because of the constant pressure put on them. They even develop in clusters in some cases and can fuse together, forming “mosaic warts”.
Which, again, sound super fancy, but definitely aren’t a piece you’d put up in an art exhibit. They’re actually kind of grotesque, but are totally normal.
To sum it up, you know it’s Verrucas on your feet when:
There’s a black dot in the centre (in most cases)
The “wart” is oddly cauliflower-shaped
You feel a stinging “stepping-on-a-needle” type of pain when you apply pressure
The lump is small and rough
You may have multiple on your hands and around your mouth as well (in the case of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, or HFM for short, which is common in most children)
How to Treat Verrucas on Feet
There are different ways you can go about verruca treatment. The most common ones are Salicylic acid, Cryotherapy, and SWIFT verruca treatment. Your podiatrist will be able to tell you which verruca treatment is best for you.
Here’s some information on each verruca treatment:
1. Salicylic Acid:
There are many creams, gels and medicated plasters for treating warts and verrucas. You can buy these over-the-counter, but only do so if you’re sure it’s a verruca infection. Most of these contain salicylic acid which is a key ingredient in treating verruca infections. Be careful when applying these medications, and try to use as little as possible in surrounding areas because it can cause irritation to healthy skin.
You can even protect the skin around the verruca infection with non-fragranced and natural petroleum jelly. Try not to get any of the treatment on broken skin. You can soften the area before-hand by soaking it in water and rubbing it to remove excess hard skin. Once dried, make sure to cover the affected area with a plaster. Apply the treatment according to your Podiatrist / Pharmacist’s advice.
This is the process of freezing your wart or verruca using liquid nitrogen so it falls off. Most pharmacists have OTC cryotherapy preparations that contain other gases, but these don’t normally work too well because they can’t freeze at temperatures as low as liquid nitrogen, which is why it’s better if you visit a Podiatrist to get this done (book an appointment with Bucks Foot Clinic today!). During cryotherapy, your doctor will apply the liquid nitrogen to your verruca using either a spray or a cotton bud. It usually takes between 5-30 seconds to freeze depending on the size and location and also the method used.
You may have to repeat the treatment multiple times till the verruca or wart eventually falls off. Cryotherapy, however, hasn’t been shown to work any better than salicylic acid and can often lead to blisters and scarring that can be painful, which is why it’s not recommended for younger children.
3. SWIFT Verruca Treatment:
SWIFT is a relatively new technology that’s been developed in the UK, and has been licensed for treating verrucas by podiatrists all over. SWIFT uses microwave energy, delivered through a probe which is put on the skin to treat the affected area. With SWIFT Machine Treatment, you can get rid of multiple verrucas and warts in just one sitting, and it’s quick and efficient in doing so. The cherry on top is that you don’t require anaesthetics of dressings afterwards!
If you want to efficiently and permanently remove your verruca, we suggest SWIFT treatment. Most Podiatrists would opt for this treatment as it is a very efficient and good solution to the problem of verrucas on feet.
It’s always best to see a Podiatrist when facing any issues related to the feet. Especially if you have a condition like diabetes or other circulation-related illnesses. Ignoring a simple issue on your foot can lead to something much bigger and way worse in the long run. In some cases, a simple infection could lead to amputation (especially in the case of daibetic patients).
If you think you may have an issue like fungal toenail or verrucas on your feet, don’t hesitate and wait till it’s too late. Book an appointment with Bucksfoot Clinic for the best treatment you can get!