Nail Fungus

What is Nail Fungus?           

Tinea unguium, the term referring to the common fungus that grows on the feet can cause a recurrent infection of the nailbeds effecting the development and quality of the toenails.  Unsightly nail fungus may begin with a small patch of cream colored or yellow discoloration in the toenail.  Spreading throughout the nailbed nail fungus causes the nail to thicken, become brittle, malform, turn yellow, detach, and crumble.  Toe fungus can inflame the nail bed and cause significant pain under in some cases.  Toenail fungus may also have a significantly foul smell.

Risk factors for nail fungus

Proper foot hygiene may go a long way towards preventing fungal infections of the foot.  Dry, well breathing, shoes help reduce the habitat where fungus thrives.  Risk factors associated with nail fungus setting in include having athletes’ foot, nail diseases, exposure or sharing of footwear with someone with nail fungus, poor immune function, and peripheral vascular disease.  Nail fungus most often effects the great toe’s nail and the small toe’s nail.  Rate of incidence correlations exist with toenail fungus due to longer amounts of exposure and a decrease of blood flow to the area with age.  Sweating heavily around the feet puts a person at increased risk.  Correlations of diabetes and nail fungus exist.  Existing damage to the skin, from conditions such as eczema, can allow the fungus to take hold.  Situations with bare foot high humidity community exposure, such as public showers and pools, puts you at risk for contracting foot fungus and nail fungus.

Treatment of Nail fungus

At home treatment for Nail Fungus

Proactively preventing nail fungus by having dry feet, moisture wicking socks, shoes that breathe, wearing sandals in communal areas, and proper foot washing hygienic practices go a long way towards prevention.  Community spread of nail fungus through vulnerable populations contributes to the one in ten people that must deal with nail fungus.  Most over the counter treatments are ultimately unsuccessful in most cases, but topical creams do help resolve a small amount of mild cases.

Medical Treatment of Nail Fungus

Multiple strategies exist to treat nail fungus and may be a combination of oral and topic medicines to treat the condition; treatment may last six to twelve weeks but the full results may not be apparent until the nail as grown completely through in about six months.  Some instances allow for a medicated toenail polish to be applied for about a year.  Cases that do not respond may be treated by temporarily removing the nail and treating the nailbed directly before allowing a new healthy nail to regrow.

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