Toenail fungus infection is a common issue but quite challenging to eliminate. This kind of infection can attack anyone at any age, but it is more prevalent among older adults. If you notice that one of the toenails has become thick, brittle, and yellow, then there’s a probability that you have a toenail fungus infection.
What are its causes?
A toenail fungal infection is medically known as onychomycosis. This is a result of a fungus known as dermatophyte. The less popular yeasts and molds can also infect toenails. Older adults are more prone to getting toenail fungus infections because the nails become dry as they become older. This will eventually result in cracks within the nail which will pave the way for the fungus to enter. The fungus can be found all around us. These are more often found in dark, warm, and moist places like public swimming pools, shower rooms, locker rooms, and gyms. It’s also possible for you to get infected by going to a salon with no hygienic and sterilization practices for their instruments.
What are its common symptoms?
It’s not easy to spot a toenail fungal infection, but here are some of the most common ones: the nails are thickened, brittle, crumbly, ragged on the edges, and distorted in shape. They are also dull and have become darker or yellowish. It may be possible to find scaling under the toenail. This is known as hyperkeratosis. You may find yellow or white streaking or lateral onychomycosis if not yellow spots that you can see at the bottom of the nail. This is called proximal onychomycosis. The infected nails are likely to separate from the nail bed. This condition is known as onycholysis. Nail fungal infections may sometimes lead to pain in the infected area and at times may even give off a foul smell. Another symptom that is often linked with nail fungus infection is the existence of skin lesions called dermatophytids.
6How is this condition diagnosed?
For you to diagnose toenail fungal infections, a doctor may often examine the debris found underneath the nail by getting a scraping. The scraping will be used for a potassium hydroxide or KOH test or fungal culture. The KOH test can be done quickly while the fungal culture can take weeks to complete.