Spotlight: Sohl Foot & Ankle

Is that fungus on my nail? 

Hello again community! Last month I had a patient who came to the office with concerns about toenail fungus.

The patient noticed discoloration across the big toenails and wasn’t sure how it happened or what to do. A quick trip to the local podiatrist was the best move.

After taking a brief history and performing our foot exam, I quickly determined this probably wasn’t a case of toenail fungus, but rather minor nail trauma.

What?!  Here’s what happens.

When we walk or run through our daily routines, sometimes our activities or shoe gear create small moments of repetitive trauma to the toes and/or nails. Think of 10,000 steps daily with a shoe that is just a little too tight.

Because a toenail doesn’t have nerves, sometimes it takes damage and we don’t even realize it. And if there is nail polish present, some people don’t realize anything happened until they remove the polish weeks later… like in this case. 

Nail fungus looks similar, so it is reasonable to assume that diagnosis. But if the discoloration is from trauma and the diagnosis is incorrect, you might spend money on OTC (over the counter) anti-fungal medication that won’t help, and you’ll waste a lot of time wishing it would just go away.  

If there is a suspicion that fungus is present, it is prudent to send a sample to a reputable lab for analysis. Depending on the patient’s health profile, topical and/or oral medications can be used to treat nail fungus.

Not every case is the same, so if you are concerned about nail discoloration, I recommend calling Sohl Foot & Ankle at 267-699-3839 and we will figure this out with you.  BTW, this is not a chat bot.

PHOTO CAP: Not all discolored nails are fungal. The wrong diagnosis could waste your time and money.

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