Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is a fungal infection that occurs in or on the toenails. Once fungal organisms enter and multiply inside of the toenail, a fungal infection takes place. The majority of infections are due to direct fungi exposure from cut or cracked toenails and surrounding skin. Subsequently, the nails become discolored and thick.
Toenail Fungus Causes
As previously stated, direct exposure is a leading cause of toenail fungas infections. The cracks and cuts through which the fungi enter are usually microscopic. Once the fungi enters the nail, it begins to grown and spread. Eventually, the sufferer will notice changes in the affected nail.
Toenail Fungus Risk Factors
There are several risk factors than increase one’s chances of contracting toenail fungus. Feet that are regularly enclosed in warm and moist socks and shoes create an ideal environment for fungi to multiply. Locker rooms and indoor swimming pools are also welcoming environments for toenail fungus growth, particularly when walking barefoot, japanese toenail fungus code review.
Weakened foot circulation is another risk factor of toenail fungus. When blood flow is decreased in the foot, the body is less able to pinpoint and fight an infection. The elderly, overweight individuals and diabetic patients carry an elevated risk of getting a toenail fungal infection due to the lack of blood flow.
Toenail Fungus Symptoms
Once toenail fungi is present in the nail, the sufferer may see white, yellow or brown spots of discoloration underneath the nail bed, near the edge of the nail. Typically, the fungi will grow across and down toward the nail’s cuticle over a period of weeks to months.
As the fungus continues to spread, the patient may notice that the affected nail, or nails, will begin to thicken. Sometimes, the nail will crack, split or become detached from the nail bed. Over time, the infection may even cause pain, itchiness or a red, streaky rash known as cellulitis.
Toenail Fungus Treatment
There are several reliable treatments for toenail fungus. Regardless of the treatment method, most toenail fungal treatments must be diligently followed anywhere from six months to one year before the infection is completely cleared.
The first line of treatment for toenail fungus involves topical application of creams, gels and varnishes. These types of treatments are most successful for sufferers with mild fungal infections. For more severe infections, other treatments are recommended because it is difficult to penetrate the nail and reach the fungus with topical creams and gels.
When topical applications are not enough, people with toenail fungus may require a prescription for oral medication. Anti-fungal medication is usually a successful way to clear toenail fungus; however, this medicine may pose a slight risk of liver damage. A doctor will assess the individual’s liver before writing a prescription.
Surgery is another way to cure toenail fungal infections after all other treatment options have been exhausted to no avail. During surgery, the entire affected toenail is removed, which can be quite uncomfortable and expensive. Ideal candidates for toenail removal surgery are those who have not only been unresponsive to less invasive treatments, but also experienced issues due to the size and shape of the fungi-infected toenail.