What if you are told that the pedicure that you paid big bucks for can leave you with a rather unpleasant gift? Your barefoot walks just around a public pool or even a shared shower after your gym routine may cause you the trouble of developing a common disease: onychomycosis, otherwise known as fungus growing on nails.
What Is Toenail Fungus?
You might be wondering what this fungal infection occupying your toenail actually is. Toenail fungus is a common condition that manifests itself as yellow or white spots. You will find these spots growing under the tip of your toenail. As the infection grows, it can thicken your nail and can even cause crumbling as the penetration by the fungus becomes deeper.
Once the infection has taken hold of your finger, it can cause loosening of your nail and can even lead to its separation from the skin. In the worst case scenarios, the fungal infection can even spread to the skin and the neighboring fingers and start destroying their nails as well.
Why Does Fungus Occupy Your Toenails?
If you are wondering how a fungal infection can occupy your toenail, science can answer your question. Fungi are living beings that need warm and moist environments to survive. Your toenail is particularly a suitable habitat for it to grow.
It is interesting to know that the fungal infections already occupying your body can also transfer themselves to toenails and thrive in there to ultimately cause toenail infections.
Who Is Susceptible To Toenail Fungus?
According to Science, men are more susceptible to suffer from a toenail fungal infection as compared to women. Age plays another major role in determining the susceptibility– the older you get, the better your vulnerability towards this infection.
Additionally, if you are already suffering from athlete’s foot or have a weak immunity, you can be on the verge of developing toenail infection several times more than the normal people. For those of you who smoke, suffer from diabetes or have someone in the family with this infection, the odds for developing toenail fungus are really high
Should You Be Worrying About Your Toenail Infestation?
Toenail fungus is not dangerous for most of the people as it can only cause emotional trauma. Nevertheless, people who have a weak immune system or poor flow of blood towards their feet might need to concern themselves more.
People with diabetes need to be particularly careful about developing toenail infection as they can easily develop complications because of it.
If you are suffering from some kind of nerve damage, you can also be vulnerable to developing secondary infections, for example, paronychia. These infections have the tendency to spread to the bone and rest of the foot.
How Can You Diagnose Toenail Fungus?
You can diagnose toenail fungus mainly by its appearance. There are a few exceptions in which similar symptoms can appear on your nails, for example in psoriasis. However, most of the time, it is the fungal infection that makes your nail thick and brittle.
You can also consult a podiatrist or a dermatologist who can scrape off a piece of the affected part and get it tested to get to the root of the problem.
How Can You Treat Toenail Fungus?
You only require proper treatment for your toenail fungus if you develop complications. There are topical medications that can cure a mild case of fungal attacks efficiently. For a long-term treatment, oral therapy can also be added to the treatment regimen after consulting with a doctor.
Additionally, many natural agents can treat fungal infections growing on toenails. According to a research published in the Journal of Prosthodontics, apple cider vinegar has all the properties for treating a fungal infection.
Other agents that can treat this infection include coconut oil, tea tree oil, and baking soda.
Steps For Preventing Toenail Fungus
It is rightly said that prevention is better than cure. You can easily reduce the risk of developing fungus on your toenails by following these simple steps.
- Always keep your feet clean.
- Use absorbent socks to keep feet dry.
- Treat athlete’s foot as soon as you get it.
- Get your sugar level under control if you are diabetic.