Nail fungus is a very common condition. It starts with a white or yellowish area in the corner or tip of your toenail. It can also appear as white streaking starting at the tip of the toenail and growing closer and closer to the base of the toenail with time.
Nail fungus may seem harmless, but as the fungal infection goes deeper, the nail fungus will cause your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble. It can affect one or several of toenails. Therefore, if nail fungus in one toe goes unchecked, it will spread to other toes.
The fungus feeds on the basic protein of toenails, skin hair and fingernails which is called keratin.
It is relatively easy to infect skin with fungus, especially feet, which are kept in a warm, dark, moist area for long periods of time: our shoes. These are the perfect conditions for fungus to infect the skin of our feet commonly starting between our toes leading to Athlete’s Foot. Itching, burning and scaling between your toes and generally of the feet are signs of Athlete’s Foot. The good news is that in the majority of cases Athlete’s Foot responds well to the application of topically applied antifungal cream in 3-4 weeks.
On the other hand it is not easy to infect a toenail but once it is infected, its not easy to get rid of it. Fungal toenails have a low success rate of healing with the application of topicals alone and it can take up to a year of applying the antifungal topcial solution twice a day, morning and night, everyday to see a 15-20% cure rate.
One of the best ways to ensure a successful treatment of fungal toenails is a combination of taking a pill called Lamisil (one pill per day with food for 90 days) with the application of a topcial antifungal toenail polish. This method “sandwiches” the infected toenail between the antifungal medication Lamisil which is laid down into the new toenail formed at the base of your toe and the antifungal toenail polish that you apply to all your toenails and removed and re-apply every 7 days.
Once your toenail becomes infected it then “seeds” your skin and will be source of a constant Athlete’s Foot infection as little bits of the infected nail break off and pass the infection to your skin.
Toenail fungus can vary greatly in discomfort. There are kinds that are quite mild and simply need treatment because they’re unappealing aesthetically.
However, there are forms of toe fungus that are painful and cause thickened nails. If that’s your case, treatment from a medical professional is highly recommended.
Once one gets a toe fungus, despite successful treatment, there is a higher chance of it coming back because of your genetics: the specific genetic programming of your keratin determines its resistance, or not, to being attacked by fungus. If you’ve been treated then you have to be on a lifetime maintenance program to reduce or eliminate your chances of getting re-infected.
Infection and re-infection chances are increased for those who work in jobs such as construction, farming, carpet layers, and any other type of job that exposes one to dust and dirt which is where the fungus comes from in the first place.
The proper, scientific name for toe fungus is onychomycosis (on-ih-koh-my-KOH-sis).
Fungal nail infections are caused by various different fungal organisms.
The most common cause is a type of fungus called dermatophyte however, yeast and molds while less common can also cause toenail infections.
These infections can develop at any age, but are more common the older a person gets because as one gets older, the nail becomes more dry and brittle which causes the nail to crack. The fungi enter the nail through these cracks. You can get a nail fungal infection if you have reduced blood circulation to you reet or have a weakened immune system.
There are severe cases that must be treated by medical professionals.
If left untreated toenail fungus can create permanent damage to your toenails by damaging the nail root, the nail bed, or both, leading to a distorted toenail that after treatment may look better, but does not return to its original shape.
It could lead to the infection spreading beyond your feet, especially if you have a suppressed immune system.
If you have any of these symptoms, you could have toenail fungus:
- Thickened nails
- Whitish to yellow or brown discoloration
- Brittle, crumbly or ragged nails
- Nails that are distorted
- A dark color building up under your nail
- A slightly foul smell
If you have, or think you may have fungus toenails, please don’t hesitate, call Family Foot Center at 718-767-5555. Call Now.
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