Diseases Diseases

What Is Fungal Infection In Toenails

Let us have a look at what exactly is toenail fungus. In medical terminology, this is described as onychimycosis. In this ailment, the fungus which attacks the toenail either disfigures it or completely kills it.

There are different types of toenail fungus. In the course of this article, we shall look at the different types so that depending on the kind of toenail fungus appropriate treatment is administered to the affected patient.

Typically, fungi grows in dark and moist places and the feet inside the shoes would be an ideal place for the fungi to grow - after all, we usually wear shoes for a longer period during the day. The most common fungus is called dermatophyte. This fungus feeds on the protein present on the surface of the toenail.

One of the major reasons of fungus is tight-fitting shoes. Another common reason is nail polish. Those using common showers in public places like public swimming pools can also get fungal infection in toenail. If the place is not hygienic or has not been properly disinfected, toenail fungus can crop up. An affected family member can also spread the infection. Diabetic patients due to poor ciruclation in the toenails can also get affected. usually it is the big and the small toenails that get affected.

The affected toenail usually turns brown or yellow and gets swollen. If treatment is not begun soon, the affected toenail begins to emit bad odor and eventually falls off. It would be pertinent to keep in mind, that even after the affected toenails falls off, the new toenail that repalces it will also not be free from infection. Diabetic patients especially must begin treatment for such fungal infection immediately.

Moving around with a fungal toenail can be quite embarrassing especially, when shoes need to be taken off in certain places. Toenail infection is not life-threatening, but it can be quite smelly and a source of embarrassment in front of friends, so it is sensible to take corrective measures speedily. Apart from the unpleasant look, it can be painful, at times too.

An important factor which contributes to fungal infection is the reduction in immunity level due to factors such as old age or AIDS and keeping the feet wet for prolonged periods of time.

Tips and comments:

On reaching home, it would be better to take off the shoes and socks immediately and preferably either wash you feet with soap and water or have a bath. Especially, during the monsoons when the shoes are more likely to get soaked, do not delay in taking off the shoes. If you have reached office or school wet, it would be better to change into a dry socks instead of sitting with wet ones the entire day.

Toenail fungus, as described above, although not life-threatening must not be taken lightly, especially if you are diabetic. The faster, it is cured, the better.

By Smita, published at 07/17/2011
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