What is a Toenail Fungal Infection?
Toenail fungus is a problem that people may notice but ignore because they do not think that it is a big deal. They just cover it up by wearing socks or applying nail polish, hoping that the problem takes care of itself. The problem is that toenail fungus is not something that should be ignored. Toenail fungal infections can spread to other toenails, your skin, and even your finger nails if you do not get them treated right away. If you see any discoloration in the nail or suspect that you have a toenail fungal infection, you need to get looked at right away to start treatment.
Toenail fungal infections are as a result of fungus getting into the cracks of your nails or skin, which causes discoloration. As it progresses, it can not only change the color or your toenail but it can also make the nail get thicker. It causes pain in addition to the unsightly aesthetic changes that it can cause. There are various types of fungus that can attack this area as can yeast, both which need to be tended to right away. Your toes and nails are especially susceptible for this fungal growth because they are warm and damp, an environment where these organisms can thrive in. Eventually as this problem gets worse, it can even lead to your nails to crumble at the ends. If the fungus affects the nails on your foot, it can be referred to as tinea unguium or onychomycosis. If it affects the skin on your feet or in between your toes, this is referred to as athlete’s foot.
There are quite a few risk factors that will increase your chance of suffering from a fungal infection. If you have a medical condition that can cause poor circulation in your feet, like diabetes, this can be a huge risk factor. Your age will also play a factor in this, especially if you are older than 65. You also have a higher risk of a toenail fungal infection if you have a weakened immune system. These are problems that are not exactly preventable but there are risk factors that you can prevent. If you go to public locations like swimming pools, shower rooms, or locker rooms, you are going to be more likely to end up with a fungal infection. If you are in places like this, you should wear protective shower shoes or water shoes to stay safe. You will also be at risk if you do not keep your feet dry as moisture offers the best environment for fungus to grow.
If you are not bothered by the fungal infection, you can get some over-the-counter treatment to take care of it. However, if you notice the problem getting worse you should see a medical professional right away. There are various fungal infections that can occur and you need to have the right treatment to treat it. Just remember that prevention really is key here and there are things that you can do to protect yourself.