Tag Archives: Exams

Diagnosing Toenail Fungus

According to the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society, up to 20% of Americans suffer from toenail fungus – also called onychomycosis or tinea unguium. The prevalence of fungi even increases by age, and people over 60 are especially affected.

Once fungi enter the surface of the nail, the following infection frequently causes the nail to become darker and thicker, displays white marks and can develop an odor. Other toes as well as fingernails can be affected quickly. Event walking might become an issue when a painful infection is accompanied by other bacterial or yeast infections. Read more about how to prevent toenail fungus here.

Treating toenail fungus is a tedious process and usually requires medication. Medication needs to be taken for several months as the infected toenails need to grow out. Stopping any treatment too early will negatively impact the healing process.  Unnecessarily prolonging a treatment is never advised due to the exposure of side effects. Side effects of affordable and effective antifungal drugs may include liver damage and other complications. Other drugs may not pose any risk to the liver, but their effectiveness is questionable and their price can be significantly higher.

Having your podiatrist analyze your feet to make a professional diagnosis is key to choosing an appropriate treatment plan, especially as conditions like psoriasis and the following only look like a fungal infection:

  • Green nails can be caused by pseudomonas bacteria and cause a similar odor.
  • Darkish red nails can be caused by hematoma.
  • Yellowish nails can be caused by onycholysis.
  • Other discolorations can be caused by trauma or paronychia.
  • Find more information on conditions mimicking toenail fungus here.

Treatment may additionally be impacted by factors like patients’ general health, age, existing conditions, and insurance coverage. Only a professional can diagnose toenail fungus and choose a treatment plan whose benefits truly outweighs the risk. In some cases, this plan might include minor surgery.  The fact is that an early diagnosis can drastically shorten the time necessary for treatment and consequently can minimize expenditures. Please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Smith and Dr. Buckrop at 309-762-7919 if you have any questions.

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Importance of Regular Foot Exams

Did you know that having healthy feet is a huge part of having a healthy life? Every time we run or walk, an opportunity for bacteria or other foot related issues opens up. For diabetics especially, foot health is just as important as their general health. Doctors suggest that patients get foot exams annually.  Diabetic patients and people with prior feet problems may require checks more frequently.

While undergoing a foot exam, Doctors will look for cuts, infections, and ulcerations in the feet that can lead to larger health issues. Diabetic neuropathy, which is nerve damage in the feet, is a large issue for people with diabetes.  If infection or diabetic neuropathies are not properly addressed, the results may include long term and larger foot issues, or even amputation.

Ensuring Doctors are adequately undergoing foot exams is very important. Observation of foot color and temperature, sensitivity, and foot pulse should all be observed closely. If a person displays signs of a potential issue, their shoes should be examined. If shoes are too tight, it can cause circulation issues and lead to other problems. Smoking has shown to be very detrimental for foot health in diabetic patients, so it is advised that patients suffering from diabetes and foot issues refrain from smoking.

Getting an annual foot exam is just as important as a general health check-up. For diabetics, annual foot check-ups are a must have. Contact your doctor, if you wish to schedule a foot exam or to receive more information on the exam process.

Find more information about the importance of regular foot exams and how to prepare for them here: