Ask the doctor: Is it a toe fungus?

Q. Eek! I removed my nail polish and my toes are yellow. I though it would go away, but it isn’t. Could I have a toe nail infection?

feet crossed toes 210x300 Ask the doctor: Is it a toe fungus? Photo

Do you feel the need to hide your toes?

A. It is possible that you have a tow fungus. Toenail fungus is an infection that can start as a white or yellow spot. As it spreads deeper, the nail may turn yellow, thicken and form crumbling edges. This cannot only be embarrassing, but painful, as well. If ignored, an infection can develop which lifts the nail from the nail bed and creates a foul odor.

Toenails are vulnerable to fungal infections from being restrained in dark, moist areas (your shoes). Medical conditions linked to poor circulation (e.g. diabetes) also promote the infection.

Additional risk factors include:

  • Walking shoeless in damp public sites (e.g. gyms, showers, hotels, swimming pools)
  • Having Athlete’s foot
  • Skin and nail injuries
  • Sweating
  • Wearing heavy socks or shoes that do not permit ventilation
  • Psoriasis
  • Living or working in humid environments

Home Remedies

There are several steps that you may try at home:

  • Wear sandals for ventilation
  • Avoid socks if the temperature permits
  • Paint the affected toes above and below the nail with tea tree oil
  • An application of Vicks VapoRub to the affected nail four times a day
  • Soak your feet in a basin of warm water with vinegar (2 parts water and 1 part vinegar) for 15 to 20 minutes twice daily. Wash after soaking and make sure the feet are completely dry after this.

Remember; don’t go without foot cover in public places. Sprinkling an antifungal powder before putting on shoes may also help to cut down on the fungal infections.

If you have not seen any improvement, or a worsening of the condition, seek out a consultation with your own physician who will provide antifungal medications.