Toenail fungus infection is one of the most common nail disorders that can be healed only under proper medication. Toenail fungus is an anaerobic organism that feeds on the nail's keratin, a strong protein. As a result the nail in turn produces more keratin which extremely results thickening of the toenail. The fungus grows on the nail bed, spreads and typically separates the nail plate from the nail bed. With time the skin around the nail becomes swollen as the fungi slowly creep into the skin. In fact, most common dermatological problems like Tinea Corporis or ring worm, jock itch, psoriasis, are caused by the same fungus that causes infection in a toenail.
The thick nail of the infected toe gradually curves inwards and causes severe pain. Sometimes the pain becomes too unbearable to walk properly. The color of the nail changes from yellow to black. The nail becomes brittle with flaky patches all over. There are various kinds of toenail fungus and in most cases the fungal infection is caused by a microbe called dermatophyte. A warm wet condition is suitable for the dermatophyte to grow. Fungi Thrive best in places that have less percent of oxygen. Here, one should always keep one's feet dry and allow nails to breathe in air to avoid being infected by fungi.
Toenail fungal infection or Onychomycosis can be classified into five types.
- Distal Subungual Onychomycosis – Distal Subungual Onychomycosis occurs when the fungi grows and multiplies on the nail bed.
- White Superficial Onychomycosis – White Superficial Onychomycosis is characterized by the appearance of white flaky patches on the surface of the nail plate.
- Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis – Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis occurs in the proximal nail fold area.
- Candidal Onychomycosis – Candidal Onychomycosis takes place when the nail is infected by bacterium candida.
- Total Dystrophic Onychomycosis – Total Dystrophic Onychomycosis is occurring the worst type of toenail infection when the toenail gets completely separated from the nail bed.
Research shows that male patients suffering from psoriasis are delayed to getting infected by fungi. According to a study, the chance of getting affected by a toenail is 56% greater incase of people suffering from psoriasis than those of normal ones. Aged people with weak immune system get easily infected by the fungus. Even individuals having poor health and disorder in circulatory system are likely to get in contact with the infection.
At present there are various therapeutic ointments available in the chemist shops that are quite effective in fighting against toenail fungal infection. Maintenance of proper hygiene is probably the best remedial step to ensure fungus free toenails.