Nail infection also known as onychomycosis (on-ih-koh-my-KOH-sis); is a condition that starts as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection begins to grow & goes even deeper then this causes nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge, which also affects adjacent or several nails.
If infection on the nail is mild and not paining much then treatment can be avoided however if nail fungus is painful and has caused thickened nails then treatment is highly recommended from dermatologist, as chance remains high that nail fungus may come back.
Followings are symptoms are nail fungus if one or more nails are:
Whitish to yellow brown discoloration
Brittle, crumbly or ragged
Distorted in its shape
A dark color, caused by debris building up under your nail
Smellling slightly foul
Nail infection ideally affect fingernails however it's very common in toenails.
The right time to see the dermatologist is when your self-care steps have failed and nail has become increasingly discolored, thickened or deformed. Also it is recommended to consult the doctor if in case you have diabetes and observe the visible sign of nail fungus.
The Key reason for Fungal nail infections are caused by various fungal organisms i.e. fungi. Besides this, other common cause is a type of fungus called dermatophyte. Yeast and molds can also cause nail infections.
Such infection can develop in people at any age group however it’s more rampant in older adults. As the nail starts ageing, this becomes brittle and dry. The resulting cracks in the nails allow fungi to enter. Other factors such as reduced blood circulation to the feet and a weakened immune system also plays a role in developing infection.
Toenail fungal infection can spread from one nail to another but it is not common to get an infection from someone else.
Following Factors, which can develop with nail fungus, are:
Being older, owing to reduced blood flow, more years of exposure to fungi and slower growing nails
Having a history of athlete's foot
Walking barefoot in damp communal areas, such as swimming pools, gyms and shower rooms
Having a minor skin or nail injury or a skin condition, such as psoriasis
Having diabetes, circulation problems or a weakened immune system
Nail fungus can be very painful and may cause permanent damage to your nails if situation is quite severe and it may lead to various other infections that spreads beyond your feet if one is having suppressed immune system due to medication, diabetes or other conditions.
If you are having diabetes then chances are that you might have reduced blood circulation and nerve supply in your feet hence you are at greater risk of a bacterial skin infection (cellulitis).
In such scenario it is highly recommended to consult your dermatologist and also if you have diabetes then start taking immediate treatment to cure the infection.
Following steps can help in preventing nail fungus or reinfections:
Regularly wash hands and feet. Wash your hands after touching an infected nail. Miniaturization of nails after washing is highly recommended.
Trim nails straight across, smooth the edges with a file and file down thickened areas. Disinfect your nail clippers after each use.
It is suggested to wear sweat-absorbing socks or change your socks throughout the day.
Avoid shoes Choose made of materials that is tight in fitting.
Immediately change old shoes or treat them with disinfectants or antifungal powders.
In pool areas and locker rooms, start wearing shoes.
Visit nail salon that uses sterilized manicure tools for each customer.
You need to give up nail polish and artificial nail