Fungal Nails

Fungal infections are common on both fingernails and toenails. Toenail fungus also known as onychomycosis.

Onychomycosis is caused by a group of fungi known as dermatophytes. These fungi are problematic because they feed on the keratin that forms the surface of toenails. The most commonly affected toes are the big toe and the little toe. Toenail fungus can lead to nail deformities and discoloration. It is a contagious condition and can sometimes have a hereditary component.

The symptoms of toenail fungus are typically noticeable. The affected nail tends to turn yellow or brown in color, and it may become so thick and overgrown that it causes discomfort when wearing shoes. Foul-smelling debris can accumulate beneath the nail, and the nail may even crumble and eventually detach.

Toenail fungus can be contracted in damp environments such as public gyms, shower stalls, or swimming pools. It can spread from one toe to another or to other parts of the body. Individuals at greater risk of toenail fungus include athletes and those who subject their toes to trauma by wearing tight-fitting shoes or hosiery. Other contributing factors may include an abnormal pH level of the skin, insufficiently drying the feet after bathing or exercise, and a weakened immune system.

Poor personal hygiene is another significant contributing factor, as wearing socks and shoes for extended periods creates an ideal environment for fungal growth—moist and warm. Sharing footwear and other personal items also increases the risk of toenail fungus.