|Nail fungus, or Onychomycosis, is a condition caused by the presence of a fungus underneath the nail bed of a finger or toe. The fungus (a dermatophyte) lives under the protected nail bed making it difficult to reach and therefore very difficult to kill. The cool and protected area underneath a nail provides a perfect growing condition for dermatophytes. The fungus begins to spread by attacking the nail and causing the infected nail plate to turn yellow, cloudy or dark-colored. If the fungus is not treated quickly, it multiplies as the condition worsens and then causes the heavily affected nails to either thicken or become brittle and crumble apart.
How do I catch a toenail fungus infection?
There are a variety of reasons why people catch toenail fungus infections. The areas of highest risk are pools, gyms, showers, bathroom and locker room floors and other public places where people walk in bare feet. You can also lessen your chances of getting nail fungus by keeping your hands and feet clean and well cared for. Any damage to a nail such as a crack or split is an open door for the fungal agents that cause nail fungus. Poor blood circulation, regularly perspiring heavily or a weak immune system can also make it easier for a person to contract a nail fungus infection.
Where is nail fungus most commonly found?
The majority of infections occur with the toenails since our feet are exposed to less air and are often kept inside warm and dark shoes all day. Warm and dark places are the perfect breeding ground for fungus so toenails are generally at higher risk. In addition, often people do not take very good care of their feet and that too increases the risk of nail fungus. However, people whose hands are in water for long periods of time or whose hands stay damp throughout the day increase the risk to their fingernails.
Nail salons are known to be a place where nail fungus infections are spread. If the tools are not properly sterilized and cleaned with regularity, they will pass the fungal agents from one client to the next. It is very important to be certain that the salon you go to is very regular and diligent about cleaning their equipment.
What is the best toenail fungus treatment?
This is the million-dollar question and the answer is a complex one. The truth is that no single toenail fungus treatment is the best to fight every case of nail fungus. There are treatments that are more appropriate for certain kinds of infections so it’s important to understand how severe your nail fungus infection is.