Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis is an infection that commonly begins as a white or yellow spot under one’s fingernail or toenail. This fungal infection occurs from the overgrowth of fungi in, under or on the nail, causing them to overpopulate .the fungal infections, if left untreated they spread and can eventually destroy the nail.
The symptoms are usually self- diagnosed such as changes in the appearance of nails for instance deformed, crumbling, discoloring, separation or lifting from the nail bed, swelling of soft tissue, powdery patches and odor. The condition may also cause pain and disfigurement, additionally in severe cases can cause problems with walking, standing and exercising.
Causes to this condition vary depending on different factors, ageing being the most common risk due to lowered blood circulation, more prolonged exposure to fungi and slow nail growth, increasing vulnerability to the infection. Another risk factor is heavy sweating creating a moist environment for the fungal growth also wearing socks and shoes that hinder ventilation and do not absorb sweat, going barefooted in damp public places such as swimming pools, gyms and shower rooms too. Having diabetes, circulation problems which might lead to lower peripheral temperatures on hands and feet or also a weakened immune system .previous injury or infection to the skin or nail, Visiting nail salons that use inadequate sanitization of instruments such as clippers, filers and foot tubs is another way the virus may be spread.
Several preventive measures can help stop the fungus from spreading, for example, washing the feet and drying them thoroughly before putting on socks and shoes, keeping nails short dry and clean, smoothing the edges with a file and disinfecting the nail clippers after each use also refraining from picking and biting nails, wearing sweat-absorbing socks usually synthetic or rather change your socks throughout the day also choose shoes made of materials that breath as well as avoiding sharing both socks and shoes, ensuring that your manicure or pedicure salon properly sterilizes for each customer or using artificial nails and nail polish less often .another preventive measure is wearing shoes or sandals in public places, pools and locker rooms. Discard or use antifungal sprays or disinfectants to treat old shoes .washing hands after touching infected nails and wearing rubber gloves to avoid overexposure to water is another preventive measure highly recommended.
When it comes to the treatment of the fungus, medical treatment is suggested in patients who are experiencing pain and discomfort due to the nail changes like patients with diabetes and those who had a previous history of infection of the soft tissues near the affected nail. Poor cosmetic appearance is another reason for medical treatment. One way to get rid of toenail fungus is by surgery .surgical treatments of toenail fungus involve nail removal, a warranted method when the affected nail is associated with other factors. Oral antifungal therapy has higher cure rates and shorter treatment duration compared to topical therapy.