Toenail fungal infection also known as Onychomycosis is a common nail disorder that is affecting hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. This is mostly common in adults, especially the elderly ages 70 and up. Simply put, the lower your immunity the higher the chances of developing fungal infections.
Fungal infection on the toenail has several symptoms as each infection might be caused by a different type of fungi. However, the most common symptoms are yellowish color and a thick texture over the surface of the toenail.
Half of health conditions concerning the nail are usually caused by fungal infections which make onychomycosis the primary suspect when it comes to nail conditions. Onychomycosis can be the cause of problems in both fingernails and toenails but the most common cases all center on toenail infection. The cause of this is not clear but doctors seem to believe that the decreased growth rate of toenails might be the cause as it gives the fungi more time to develop. There is also the factor of environment as fungi thrives in warm, dark and wet places which is exactly the environment one would expect within the shoe. Constrictive shoes and boots can be a hotbed for fungi which is why it is not recommended footwear.
Fingernails are also prone to fungal infections, especially those who usually submerge their hands underwater for long durations. In this case, it is advisable that the individual wear double gloves made of exterior latex and interior cotton to prevent fungi from seeping in between the nails.
Diagnosis of onychomycosis can be done visually as each type of fungal nail infection has specific symptoms. Of course, laboratory tests are recommended to fully distinguish what type of fungal infection is currently affecting the patient.
Doctors can also take samples from your nail and directly distinguish the type of fungi via microscope. It usually takes at least a few weeks for results to come in, but this is the best method in treating fungal infections on the nail as the doctor will be able to administer proper treatment and medication.
Several Facts about Onychomycosis
It is a type of nail infection that is caused by a pathogenic fungus.
Fingernails are also prone to developing onychomycosis but toenails are the most common cases.
It usually takes a combination of laboratory tests and clinical test to determine what type of onychomycosis is affecting the patient.
Fungal Nail Infection Risk Factors
While onychomycosis is usually pretty harmless and is mostly relegated to a nuisance, different individuals will react to this infection based on their current health status. There are several factors that come into play which can determine the amount of risk one can expect from fungal nail infections.
- Age – The older the person gets, the higher the chances he could develop a form of fungal nail infection. This might be due to the fact that the older you get, the slower nails grow but it can also be pointed out that the immune system weakens once you get to a certain age. This allows bacteria, parasites and fungi to invade the body easier.
- Health Condition – Those with lower blood circulation on their extremities are more susceptible to fungal infections. People with diabetes usually exhibit signs of toenail fungal infections as their immune system is considerably lower due to decreased circulation. Psoriasis is a skin disorder that can also cause fungal infections as this condition has a habit if spreading to nails.
- Sports – The physicality of sports as well as the environment some are located in will usually factor in when it comes to the chances of developing fungal infections. This is most prevalent in swimmers as they are usually soaked in water for most of the day which increases fungi growth by wide a mark.
Learning the different factors that can cause fungal nail infection is the first step in combating this condition. It is also vital that correct diagnosis is applied as to prevent further complications in the future. There are several effective treatments to onychomycosis but it is essential to figure out the type of fungi and the cause to help prevent it from spreading further and relapsing in the future.