The Link Between Diabetes and Nail Fungus

The Link Between Diabetes and Nail Fungus

Checking your feet every day is crucial if you have diabetes. As you may well know, your podiatrist and primary care physician encourage you to report any new sores or unusual defects on your feet as they can lead to major foot complications like foot and ankle ulcers. Your feet may not have much sensation due to diabetic neuropathy, so you might not know of a wound or injury unless you take a look. 

At our Dallas, Texas, office, board-certified podiatrist Dr. Francine Rhinehart encourages all her diabetic patients to make regular visits for diabetic foot care and maintenance. What you might not expect is to find toenail fungus, a common complication of diabetes that also happens to be one of the most common issues podiatrists treat. 

What to watch out for

No, you won’t see mushrooms growing on your feet if you have toenail fungus. However, toenail fungus has some distinct features that you’ll be able to see right away. Any time your nails change in color or texture, toenail fungus is a possibility your podiatrist might want to explore. Fungal nails tend to be:

Fungal nails also tend to pull away from their beds, which might lead to discomfort especially when you walk around. 

It’s important to note that not every yellow nail indicates toenail fungus, even if you have diabetes. In fact, diabetes can also cause your nails to turn yellow because of how sugars break down in your nails and affect the collagen. This type of nail yellowing requires no professional treatment from a podiatrist. 

How diabetes contributes to nail fungus

You’re probably wondering what a metabolic condition has to do with fungus growing on your toenails. The root of the problem is the effect that diabetes has on your circulation. Your feet, the toes in particular, are farther away from your heart than any other body part, which means they lack blood flow the most. 

Poor circulation impacts your body’s ability to heal itself from any injuries or infections you experience. Coupled with diabetic neuropathy, which prevents you from feeling any discomfort associated with your toenail fungus, poor foot circulation from diabetes poses a dangerous issue and leaves you prone to life- or limb-threatening complications like a bacterial infection in the nail bed that your body can’t alleviate. 

Leg and foot amputations are particularly common among people with diabetes because of the risks that foot complications like toenail fungus and wounds or ulcers pose. Fortunately, state-of-the-art treatment using a Q-Clear™ Nd:YAG laser can clear away even the more severe cases of toe fungus when medicated polishes aren’t strong enough for the job. 

If it’s come time for your next diabetic foot examination, or if your nails seem to be changing in appearance, contact our Dallas office with a phone call or schedule your appointment using the convenient online booking feature right away. 

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