Toenail fungus which is also called onychomycosis occurs when a fungal infection appears under the nail causing several changes in its appearance. This is primarily caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. These microorganisms also cause athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch.
Most people only become concerned about toenail fungus because they feel embarrassed by it. But toenail fungus is more serious than a mere cosmetic problem. If it is left untreated, this may worsen and make it difficult for you to walk.
A fungal infection has several possible risk factors which include walking in damp and highly populated areas, having breaks and damage on the nail and nail bed, having chronic conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid, and weak immune system, having previous problems with athlete’s foot, yeast overgrowth, and mold growth.
A nail fungal infection requires a clinical diagnosis for treatment, but it is characterized by the following common symptoms: discolored and misshapen nails, brittle and crumbly nails, nails that can be painful, having white marks or yellow streaks across the nail’s surface, the nails can become too hard or too weak, and they may also emit a foul smell.
11Treatment and Care Tips
There are multiple ways to treat and prevent toenail fungal infections. It is important to ensure that your feet are always clean and dry. The most conservative nail fungus treatment includes the use of prescribed oral or topical medications, and sometimes a combination of the two. For severe and persistent cases of toenail fungal infection, nail removal is necessary. This will allow a new fresh nail to grow.