Probably the most common complaint regarding the toenails is fungal infection. The same fungus that causes athlete's foot can also cause changes to the toenails. This fungus lives on the skin and is usually kept in check by the immune system.
Occasionally, however, it evades our immune system and penetrates the nail.Probably the most common complaint regarding the toenails is fungal infection. The same fungus that causes athlete's foot can also cause changes to the toenails.
This fungus lives on the skin and is usually kept in check by the immune system. Occasionally, however, it evades our immune system and penetrates the nail.As the fungus advances under the toenail, it causes the colour of the nail to change, as well as making it grow thicker and more brittle.
Most complaints about fungal nails are directed at the unsightly appearance of the affected nails. But, for some, the toenails can start to hurt as they become thicker and more brittle.
Fungal infections also produce debris under the nail that looks like dry, flaking skin. In some cases, infected nails loosen from the nail bed.Some nail changes can mimic a fungal infection, which is why a suspected funal infection should be evaluated by a podiatrist or dermatologist.
Accurate diagnosis is important to ensure proper treatment. And the only true way a podiatrist can diagnose the presence of fungus with certainty is to order a lab test on a sample of the affected nail.
Who's at risk for Fungal Nails?
There are some common traits that those with fungal toenail infections often share. It seems that those who often get athlete's foot and those whose feet tend to sweat profusely are more likely to get fungal toenails.
Keeping the skin cool and dry and treating athlete's foot aggressively are important for minimizing toenail problems.Occasionally, fungal nails have a hereditary component. Some people are simply born more susceptible to fungal infections than others.
I am often asked if nail fungus is easily spread. The answer is, it depends--on your immune system and other factors. I've seen patients who were married to partners with fungus in all ten toenails but who did not develop symptoms themselves.
And then Iv'e seen whole families affected by fungal nails. If you are prone to fungal infections in your nails, you must be especially diligent about your foot hygiene.
Reference: Great Feet For Life: Paul Langer : DPM
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