Nail fungus is a very common condition. Over 35 million people suffer from it just in the U.S. This fungus is not just an aesthetic problem. It is an infection that is usually caused by an organism called dermatophyte. The dermatophytes are not visible to the naked eye, but their results are visible.
Once the dermatofytes penetrate the area beneath the nails, they start to multiply. Paradoxically, the nails seem to provide a protective environment for the growth of fungus. Therefore, it is very difficult to stop its growth and the most effective method is to treat the infection from within. The toenails are more susceptible to this condition, because they are surrounded every day by dark, warm and often wet shoes and socks.
When the infection develops, the color of the nail becomes yellow or dark. Dead cells gather in the nail and cause a bad smell. The toenail becomes thicker, which causes discomfort to the patient every time he/she has to wear shoes and it may even make it difficult for the sufferer to stand or walk. Moreover, the infection can be transferred to other nails and probably to other people. Something very ordinary, like a nail file can spread the fungus from an infected nail to the rest.
What are the symptoms of this condition?
- Nails have an unusual appearance.
- There is a change in the color which may be brown, yellowish or have white spots.
- Nails are peeling on the surface and are fragile.
- Toenails become thick and cutting them becomes difficult.
- There is pain in the toes.
This condition doesn’t necessarily relate to personal hygiene. Something as simple as a small cut in the nail or finger, or wearing narrow shoes can trigger the infection. The dermatofyte causing the infection is very common in places such as swimming pools, showers and even a garden. You can also get infected, if you use non-sterile tools that have been used before by someone who has the infection. Also, fungus is more prevalent in people who suffer from various chronic disorders or whose feet sweat a lot.
Is there a cure?
This type of fungus is not healed on its own. Below you will find some tips that will help you treat the problem:
- Do not use nail polish to nails that have been contaminated.
- Do not share shoes, scissors or nail files with other people.
- Keep your feet dry.
- Change your socks daily.
- Cut your nails just at the tip of the finger and avoid cutting them too deeply.