Toenail fungus, also called Onychomycosis, means fungal infection of the nail. It is the most common disease of the nails and constitutes about half of all nail abnormalities. The condition affects about 10% of the population.
The pathogens involved include dermatophytes, candidaad, and nondermatophytic molds. These fungal type infections cause thickening of the nails and discoloration also. The nail will eventually become disfigured and may become brittle and break. Tight shoes, excessive perspiration, and not drying your feet after a bath are all contributing factors. Diabetics have an increased risk of contracting a toenail fungus because their immune system is compromised and circulation to the ends of the toes is usually compromised also. They should have their nails cut and debrided by a podiatrist. Clean and dry your feet often and don’t go barefoot in any public place that may harbor the fungi.
Most treatments are either topical or oral antifungal medications. The oral antifungal medication has the highest success rate but may have serious side effects and they are not suitable for everyone. Over the counter, treatments are seldom a cure but may help with symptoms and also shoes that are ventilated and clean dry socks help also. If you do develop toenail fungus, see your foot doctor.