Toenail Fungus Overview:
Toenail Fungus (Onychomycosis) is an infection found under the nail initiated by a dermatophyte (skin fungus). Starting off as a small yellow or white dot, the infection is known to quickly spread and eat away at the toenail and the area where the skin meets the base of the nail.
Under these circumstances, the affected area will soon become discolored and start to release a foul, undesirable odor. If left untreated, the condition will force the toenail to become thicker, crumbly and generally more ragged. Not only does this look displeasing, it also often results in nagging pain as the nail consistently presses down onto a sensitive part of the body.
Although nail fungus can also occur in finger nails, the majority of cases are seen in the toes. This is because fungi often live in dark, warm, moist places (like your shoes), and your feet receive significantly less light than the hands.
Generally speaking, people who attend public swimming pools, gyms and shower rooms are more likely to acquire toenail fungus than others.
Other factors that may result in a higher risk of toe fungus:
- Receiving manicures or pedicures with previously used, unwashed equipment.
- Already deformed nails or diagnosis of another nail disease.
- Extended periods of moist skin.
- Constant sweating, especially in unnecessary circumstances.
- Consistently wearing closed footwear.
- Donning damp socks for prolonged periods of time.
Furthermore, people with diminished circulation and/or compromised immune systems are more likely to contract toe fungus.
Most Common Symptoms of Nail Fungus:
- Thickened nail.
- Affected nail becomes crumbly or weak.
- Oddly shaped toe nail.
- Nail is unusually dull or dry.
- The nail itself or the skin under the nail turns a dark/yellowish color.