Invisible nail fungus is a way to describe nail fungus symptoms that are uncommon. Developing thick, discolored, or brittle nails as a result of nail fungus isn’t on anybody’s bucket list. If you’ve been researching toenail fungus, you likely know that the first signs of infection are subtle discolorations or whitening of the nail surface. If you know how to recognize that, you’re a step ahead in avoiding a nasty infection down the line. You may be wondering if it’s possible to have nail fungus without any visible signs of infection. It is very possible to have an invisible nail fungus; here’s how.

How Nail Fungus Works

A nail fungus infection starts off with a negligible amount of fungus invading the nail bed. From that point, the fungus can start to grow and take up more and more space under the nail. Since fungal spores themselves are microscopic, they often can’t be seen with the naked eye until they have grown to a larger quantity. Only when the fungal spores have grown for a period of time will you be able to notice a visual change in your nail. This means that invisible nail fungus can be living under your nail without showing any signs of infection!

This is important for a couple of reasons. On one hand, this information should make you keener on keeping up with your shoe and foot hygiene at all times, even if you and those in close contact don’t have any visual signs of fungus. On the other hand, the potential presence of invisible nail fungus changes how fungus must be treated. If you have a visible fungal infection on only one toe, it is likely that some invisible nail fungus spores are on your other toes. Because of this, it is important to treat all of the nails on each affected foot to minimize the possibility of reinfection. This is what our doctors do when they use the PinPointe laser for fungus.

Toenail Fungus: The Myth of Bleach

Common Symptoms

Here are some of the most common toenail fungus symptoms.

  • Discoloration
    • Yellowing is the most common one. Also, it does not necessarily have to be your entire nail discolored
    • Other discolorations can include white streaks on your nail
    • In severe cases, the nail can become a brown or black color
  • Brittleness of toenails
    • Your nails can become brittle
    • They begin to crack or break
  • The thickness of the toenails
    • Many people develop a thickness of the nail
    • As a result, makes it hard to trim and maintain your nails
  • Nail Traumas
    • If you injured your nail, it can lead to a toenail fungus
  • Smelly Toenails
    • In some cases, the debride that gets stuck in your thickened toenails can cause a smelly odor

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, you should schedule a free consultation with our podiatrist in the Philadelphia office. They will be able to determine if what you have is a toenail fungus infection. They will also let you know the best treatment option for you.

How to Avoid Toenail Fungus

There are a few ways you can avoid toenail fungus. Toenail fungus typically thrives in warm, moist environments so it is important to be extra careful during hot summers. Here are some tips on avoiding a toenail fungus infection.

  • Always wear shoes in public spaces
    • This includes swimming pools, hot tubs, hot springs, gyms, locker rooms, saunas, and any indoor activity facility
    • You can get infected by walking barefoot in an area where there are a lot of people
  • Try not to wear closed-toe shoes for an extended period of time
    • Wearing tight closed-toe shoes can create the perfect environment for a toenail fungus to form and it can spread to your toenails
    • Avoid wearing closed-toe shoes for long periods of time, especially in the summertime when it is hot
  • Avoid going to Nail Salons
    • Many people get infected by going to nail salons
    • Make sure that if you do go that it is clean and sanitized
    • All tools should be freshly sanitized and unused
    • Make sure everything is thoroughly cleaned between each client
  • Do not share nail clippers
    • Never share your nail clippers with someone else as you can easily get infected with a toenail fungus
    • As a result, if a person who has toenail fungus uses your nail clippers and doesn’t disinfect them, then you can get all your nails infected with toenail fungus
    • Furthermore, make sure to always clean and disinfect your nail clippers and all other nail tools used to maintain your nails

By following these few tips you can avoid getting a toenail fungus infection.

Treatment Options Available

  1. Topical treatments: Topical nail fungus treatments include over-the-counter creams such as tolnaftate and clotrimazole. These are very affordable and good at preventing fungal infections. Although, they are not effective at treating an active infection and are less than 10% effective. 
  2. Oral pills: You might have heard of Lamisil (generic name terbinafine), amongst others, when it comes to nail fungus treatment. This is the most common option, despite the fact that it has extreme side effects which include liver toxicity and even possibly liver damage, ultimately leading to death or the necessity of a liver transplant. It is so damaging. In fact, routine testing is required. It monitors the health of your liver for the entirety. While this may be the most common nail fungus treatment option, it is the one with the most drawbacks. And on top of this, the average cure rate for oral pills is only 60%!
  3. Laser: Laser is the most modern and technologically advanced nail fungus treatment option, with the greatest success rate. However, unfortunately, there are many different lasers on the market with various success rates which may or may not be FDA-approved. To add on top of that, it only takes one treatment with no downtime afterward, while other lasers may require up to four sessions.

Laser Treatment for Nail Fungus

Toenail fungus treatments in Philadelphia can vary. If you have caught nail fungus, it can be easily treated using the FDA-approved PinPointe laser, which typically only takes one treatment. Other treatments like topical solutions and oral medication are not as effective. Topical solutions have a very low cure rate. This is because the solution does not penetrate all the way through the nail bed.  This is because it can lead to liver toxicity. You would need to have consistent blood tests throughout the course of taking the medication. 

Our nail doctor in Philadelphia, PA recommends this treatment for toenail fungus. The PinPointe Laser treatment has the highest cure rate in the market. It has no side effects and no recovery period. As a result, you can go about your daily activities right after the treatment. Also, there’s no pain.

If you have any signs of nail fungus, call us at 800-672-0625 at our Philadelphia, PA location, or visit our website for more information on our doctors at one of our over 150 locations.