Onychomycosis or commonly called toenail fungus is an extremely common fungal infection. Usually, the fungus enters the body through a cut or wound and spread in the body. This produces a change in the nail color and makes it thicker.
At chronic stages, this infection becomes painful and that’s when most people notice it. It affects the toes mostly, as they are warm and damp and this environment is helpful in the growth of fungus. If it left untreated, the infection may spread to other toenails or even fingernails. The main fungal strains that can cause onychomycosis are athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm.
Common signs of toenail fungal infection
These are the following symptoms that indicate the overpopulation of toenail fungus. after observing these symptoms, you may become able to treat the fungus.
- Nails become thicker than the normal
- A yellowish-brown and whiteish discoloration on the nails
- Nails become more brittle and easier to break
- Due to overgrowth of fungus, the nail becomes loose and it easily distorted from the skin
- It usually induces pain in the nail
- There is a foul smell in the affected area.
The infection becomes chronic when it is painful and hurting. Permanent damage to nails may occur and a long healing time is required. Due to the widespread of fungal infections, it can pass to different body parts in an immunocompromised person.
Who is at greater risk?
Older people are more prone to these types of infections, especially the men have more chances to get an infection as compared to women. People with diabetes, a weak immune system, athlete’s foot, and smokers are at greater risk of infection. The moist environment is optimal for the growth of fungus so if you place your injured nail in water for a long time it will help the infection to grow at a faster rate.
What is required for the diagnosis?
This infection can be confused with physical injuries and people usually go for home remedies to treat it. Sometimes small wound may heal but once it spread the nail must be examined by the doctor. The test should be done under the microscope for confirmation.
When to seek medical help?
Toenail fungus is not really a big problem if it is not causing any trouble. Only the older ones and diabetic people are at high risk. Also, those with a weaker immunity may fall into trouble. In any case, seeking medical help and some of the home remedies may help.
Any person who doesn’t see any improvement even with using home remedies should seek medical help as soon as possible. Do not use anti-fungal medicines without consulting a doctor.
Treatment of fungal nail infection
The fungal treatment depends upon the level of infection that the person is having. Maybe the worse or more severe infection needs serious medications. A doctor may go for an upper skincare cream or oral combination of medicines.
- Topical cream for the skin to apply
- An antifungal tablet
- Laser treatment for the removal of damaged nail and skin
Some cases involve the complete surgery of the nail.
Nail care tips to prevent fungal nail infection
- Wash feet with good soap and clean the water particularly between the gap of toes.
- Cut your nails and trim the sharp end to avoid any cut.
- Use a clean tool for the cutting of nails and cuticles.
- Wash your files and clippers in a good way, wiping it with alcohol for sterilization.
- Don’t apply nail paint on the discolored nail. It will block the oxygen which increases the chances of spreading the infection.
Also, be careful while choosing the footwear and take care of the following things.
- Keep your stocking dry and free of moisture.
- Choose your shoes that perfectly fit in size so that it won’t hurt your nails.
- Use shower shoes in wet places that allow air or water to pass through it.
- Wear comfortable shoes before walking and do not go barefoot on the road.
- Go for the pedicure once in a month for the proper cleaning of your nails and nail toes.
- Don’t apply nail paints for a longer duration
- Carefully watch the color and texture of your nail if you observe any change in it