Toenail fungus is also known as onychomycosis is an infection that occurs underneath the nail. This infection is caused by fungi. When these pathogens take hold, the nail can become darker and smell bad. It may be that debris collects under the nail plate. In some cases, white marks may also appear on the nail plate. Toenail infection is also capable of spreading to other fingernails, toenails, or skin. When ignored, the infection may spread and possibly hinder your ability to walk or work. The thickened nails can be hard to trim. It makes it painful and difficult to wear shoes. Onychomycosis may also come with a second bacterial or a yeast infection in or on the nail plate.
6What are the causes of a toenail fungal infection?
The most common cause of toenail fungus infection is dermatophytes. These are microorganisms that feed off keratin, the protein that makes the nails hard. This protein is also found in our hair. Yeast can also cause toenail infection. Dermatophytes can enter through a cut or break on the skin. Many factors can make any person more vulnerable to a toenail infection. These include having cracks in their toenails, weakened immune systems, or skin conditions like psoriasis. Older people are also more prone to toenail fungal infections. This type of infection is more prevalent among males than females. The risk is higher also for those who have diabetes or a history of athlete’s foot or toenail fungal infection in the family. People who suffer from poor circulation, excessive sweating, or those who frequently walk barefoot in damp public places like swimming pools and gyms are also more susceptible to toenail infections. Wearing inappropriate footwear is also another factor.