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Why Does Nail Fungus Occur

Special Groups At Risk For Complications In Severe Onychomycosis

Nail Fungus – Why Does it Occur How to Get Rid of Nail Fungus

Delaying the treatment of a nail fungus until its late stages can be excruciatingly challenging. For some people with other diseases/conditions, avoiding the onset of severe onychomycosis is essential. The dangers that involve the end-stage nail disease can lead to an even more harmful situation for them.

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Why Does It Develop

A fungal nail infection occurs from the overgrowth of fungi in, under, or on the nail. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, so this type of environment can cause them to naturally overpopulate. The same fungi that cause jock itch, athletes foot, and ringworm can cause nail infections.

Fungi that are already present in or on your body can cause nail infections. If you have come in contact with someone else who has a fungal infection, you may have contracted it as well. Fungal infections affect toenails more commonly than fingernails, likely because your toes are usually confined to shoes, where theyre in a warm, moist environment.

If you get a manicure or pedicure at a nail salon, be sure to ask how the staff disinfects their tools and how often they do it. Tools, such as emery boards and nail clippers, can spread fungal infections from person to person if theyre not sanitized.

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Who Gets Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is common, and anyone can get it. However, some people have a higher risk of developing a fungal nail infection. Your age, health, and even your lifestyle can increase your risk.

Age. The risk of developing a fungal nail infection increases with age. Its most common in old age and least common in children.

Before the age of 6, its rare to develop a fungal nail infection.

Climate. Living in a hot, humid climate increases the risk of developing a fungal nail infection.

Health. You have an increased risk of developing a fungal nail infection if you have one or more of the following:

  • Athletes foot

  • Cancer and are receiving chemotherapy

  • Diabetes

  • Injured a nail or recently had nail surgery

  • People in your family frequently get nail infections

  • Poor circulation

  • Weakened immune system due to a disease like human immunodeficiency syndrome

Do you have frequent nail infections?

If you get frequent nail infections, you may have untreated athletes foot.

Lifestyle. Your risk of getting a fungal nail infection increases if you:

  • Have wet feet or hands frequently throughout the day

  • Smoke

  • Spend a lot of time in water

  • Walk barefoot in a hot, humid place like a pool, public shower, or locker room

  • Wear tight-fitting, closed-toe shoes, especially if you have sweaty feet

  • Wear plastic gloves for hours every day

Tips To Prevent Fungal Nail Infections

Heres How You Can Treat Toenail Fungus at Home

Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent a fungal infection of the nails. Taking good care of your nails by keeping them well trimmed and clean is a good way to prevent infections.

Also avoid injuring the skin around your nails. If youre going to have damp or wet hands for an extended amount of time, you may want to wear rubber gloves.

Other ways to prevent fungal infections of the nails include:

  • washing your hands after touching infected nails
  • drying your feet well after showering, especially between your toes
  • getting manicures or pedicures from trustworthy salons
  • avoiding being barefoot in public places
  • reducing your use of artificial nails and nail polish

Products to help you avoid nail fungus

If youre prone to excessive moisture around your fingernails or toenails, consider buying:

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Check Your Nails To Find Early Signs Of Infection

Following these precautions will reduce your risk of getting another infection. Fungal infection, however, are very common. You can get another one. Early treatment delivers the best outcome.

You can find signs of an early fungal infection by checking your nails and the skin around them at least once a month. You want to look for:

  • Changes in nail color, such as a white spot or brown or yellow streak

  • Changes to the texture of your nails

  • Soreness or swelling around a nail

  • Dry, itchy skin

If you notice any signs of infection, make an appointment to see your dermatologist.

ImageGetty Images

ReferenceGold LFS and Rosen T. Onychomycosis: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies. Dermatology News . March 2016:2-15.

Can Nail Fungal Infections Be Painful

Nail fungal infections are usually not alarming. Discolorations in the form of black spots or white streaks may dictate that your nails are infected. These early signs and symptoms normally do not provide any discomfort, and because of this, they can also be easily dismissed. However, as nail fungus progresses, it only exacerbates the problem.Severe onychomycosis is the end-stage and most advanced form of nail fungal infections. This is not only the most difficult stage to clear, but it is also the type of infection with the highest risk to permanent nail damage, secondary bacterial infection, and eventually gangrene. The prevalence of onychomycosis is increasing. In the United States alone, almost 6 to 12 percent of the population are suffering from this nail problem.

Severe nail fungus usually begins with nail discoloration it might be white, black, yellow, or green. The nails become thick and deform to an unusual shape and texture, making them difficult to trim. The nails health also suffers and the structure starts to become weak, brittle, and crumbly. Later on, the thickness of the nail inflicts pain and discomfort, particularly when placing pressure on the affected area. The pain may start to interfere with your daily activities, like standing, walking, and exercising. Being aware of how severe nail fungus manifests is key to preventing it.

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Living With A Nail Fungal Infection

Why Do Diabetics Get More Fingernail and Toenail Fungus?

If you have a nail fungal infection, some things can help:

  • Keep your nails cut short and file down any thick areas.
  • Dont use the same nail trimmer and file on healthy nails and infected nails. If you have your nails professionally manicured, bring your own nail file and trimmer from home.
  • Wear waterproof gloves for wet work . Wear 100% cotton gloves for dry work.
  • Wear socks made of wicking material . This pulls moisture away from the skin. Change your socks when they are damp from sweat or if your feet get wet. Put on clean, dry socks every day. Put over-the-counter antifungal foot powder inside your socks to keep your feet dry.
  • Wear shoes with good support and a wide toe area. Dont wear pointed shoes that press your toes together.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, such as locker rooms.

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What Causes Fungal Nails And What Are Some Of The Risk Factors

In normal, healthy people, fungal infections of the nails are most commonly caused by fungus that is caught from moist, wet areas. Communal showers, such as those at a gym or swimming pools, are common sources. Going to nail salons that use inadequate sanitization of instruments in addition to living with family members who have fungal nails are also risk factors. Athletes have been proven to be more susceptible to nail fungus. This is presumed to be due to the wearing of tight-fitting, sweaty shoes associated with repetitive trauma to the toenails. Having athlete’s foot makes it more likely that the fungus will infect your toenails. Repetitive trauma also weakens the nail, which makes the nail more susceptible to fungal infection.

Elderly people and people with certain underlying disease states are also at higher risk. Anything that impairs your immune system can make you prone to getting infected with the fungus. These include conditions such as AIDS, diabetes, cancer, psoriasis, or taking any immunosuppressive medications like steroids.

Can You Prevent Toenail Fungus

If your toenail fungus is caused by something in your control , then yes. You can:

  • Wear shoes in public areas, especially ones that are typically wet, like pools and gyms.
  • Keep foot injuries clean and covered until they’re healed.
  • Protect your overall health by not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Wear supportive and breathable shoes.
  • You also may see a reduction in bouts of toenail fungus by keeping your toenails consistently clean, dry, trimmed, and free of nail polish .

    However, many causes of toenail fungus are caused by other conditions, like chronic illness, old age, and diabetes, and there may not be much you can do to prevent fungus in these situations. Dr. Spielfogel does recommend using preventative products if you know you’re at risk for fungal infections the Dr.’s Remedy line of nail care products, for example, includes an antifungal cuticle oil that can be used nightly to reduce the risk of fungal growth.

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    Why Does Fungus Cause Thick Toenails

    Toenails are very painful if they are not treated properly. When someone has toenail fungus. The toenail starts to change from a normal nail to a very discolored and thickened nail. Everyone that gets toenail fungus does not have the same symptoms. Some people have a different type of change of color in the nail. When someone has toenail fungus the types of color change they can get is yellow, brown or yellow. This can also create a foul order in the nails which can be unbearable. When the nails are thick, it can allow the nail to be lifted from the nailbed which allows it to detach.

    Almost 20% of the population has toenail fungus and there are many reasons why the nail becomes harder and thicker. Once the fungus gets developed into your nail, the fungus gets inside your nail bed and spreads. When the fungus spreads, thats what creates the nail to become thick because its what allows the nail to detach. There are many risks that can happen if the nail becomes thick. When applying pressure to the thickened nail can cause a lot of discomfort and pain.

    If you have toenail fungus, consult with one of our podiatrists to discuss the treatment. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We have over 120 clinics nationwide, including San France, CA.

    Symptoms Of Fungal Nail Infection

    Toenails problem

    The first signs of a fungal nail infection are usually perceptible changes to the appearance of the infected nail. It is uncommon for an infected nail to cause severe pain or permanent disfigurement, but this does occur in some cases. If left untreated, fungal nail infections can cause difficulties with walking, exercising or manual tasks such as typing. The main symptoms of onychomycosis include the nail becoming:

    • Brittle
    • Lifted away from the nail bed
    • Mildly painful

    These symptoms could also indicate that an individual is suffering from nail psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune skin disease which can affect the skin under the nail. Nail psoriasis is more common in the fingernails than the toenails and can co-occur with fungal infections of the nail. If you think you may be experiencing the first signs of nail psoriasis or a fungal nail infection, get a free symptom assessment by downloading the Ada app.

    Good to know:In people with diabetes, fungal toenail infections can increase the likelihood of developing ulceration and other complications, so medical attention should always be sought if a fungal nail infection is suspected.

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    What Is A Fungal Nail Infection

    A fungal nail infection is a common condition that can leave you with brittle, discolored nails, usually on your toes.

    Its formal name is onychomycosis, and itâs a lot like athleteâs foot. But instead of affecting the skin on the bottom of your feet or between your toes, it invades your nails.

    Fungi are tiny organisms you can only see through a microscope. Many different types can cause a nail infection. Sometimes they live on your skin and donât make any trouble. But if you have a lot in one area, you might get infected.

    Donât be embarrassed if you have toenail or fingernail fungus. Itâs way more common than you think.

    How Long Does Toenail Fungus Treatment Take

    This process may take up to a year for your nail to fully grow out the infected nail.

    The American Academy of Dermatology Association says fingernails typically grow out in 4 â 6 months while toenails take can take 12 to 18 months.

    However, the physical appearance might noticeably improve within a few months. Even if the physical appearance is better, donât stop treating the nail as reinfection is very possible.

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    When Should I Call The Doctor

    In rare cases, toenail fungus can cause an infection called cellulitis. Without prompt treatment, cellulitis may pose a serious danger to your health.

    You should seek treatment guidance from a trusted healthcare provider if you have:

    • Circulation problems.
    • Redness, pain or pus near the toenail.
    • Weakened immune system.

    How Doctors Diagnose Toenail Fungus

    What Causes Toenail Pain – Part 2

    Your doctor will first examine your toenails, but physical exam alone may be unreliable when it comes to diagnosing toenail fungus.

    Some conditions, such as psoriasis, hematoma , and paronychia , can mimic the symptoms of a fungal nail infection.

    Because there are numerous conditions that can deform nails, even doctors may have a difficult time.

    Therefore, your doctor may take a nail sample by scraping debris under your toenail, clipping or drilling a hole in the nail and send it for laboratory testing.

    This will identify the type of fungus present in the area and knowing the exact cause will help in determining the best treatment .

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    Cure Toenail Pain From Fungus Infection

    Know The Symptoms And Reasons You Shouldnt Wait to Seek Effective Treatment

    A painful, thick, yellow, green, brown or black toenail means you could have a toenail fungus infection. If you have a toenail fungal infection it wont go away on its own. You cant get rid of it with home remedies or over the counter topical treatments. Learn why, and how to cure it by reading more.

    Toenail fungus is common and it can develop when dry, brittle nails develop cracks that allow fungus to enter the nail unit. A toenail fungus infection most often occurs when excessive moisture gets under your toenail and is trapped by your socks and shoes, allowing fungus to grow and thrive. Nail fungus can also be caused by yeast and mold.

    Left untreated toenail fungus can become a foot fungus, spreading from your toenail, to the skin in between your toes, your arch and the heel of your foot.

    Scratching it or picking at it can also spread it to your fingers, and then to other parts of your body. You can also spread it to other people if you are sharing a shower or tub.

    Symptoms Of Fungal Nails

    The good news is that if you catch it early enough, it can be fairly easy to eradicate toenail fungus and save your nails from further damage.

    So how do you catch it in the early stages?

    Well, inspecting your nails every day is the first step. Especially because toenail fungus can be present a very long time without causing noticeable symptoms.

    Here are things you should look for when you examine your nails:

    • Darkening or discoloration of the affected nail
    • White or discolored spots that arent from an injury
    • Thickening or distortion of the nail
    • Unusual white or yellow streaks in your nail
    • Crumbling along the edges or tips of the nail, particularly where its discolored
    • Redness and swelling
    • Foul odor emitting from the nail
    • Pain when walking or wearing shoes
    • The nail starts to separate from the nail bed

    If you notice one or more of these symptoms in your toenails, dont wait for them to go away on their own the infection will most likely continue to grow and spread .

    Instead, get them diagnosed right away so the fungus can be eliminated quickly and before it causes visible damage to your nail.

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    Does Nail Fungus Cause Pain

    Many people have concerns regarding the symptoms of onychomycosis. Although nail changes are obvious symptoms, many doubt the infection because of the absence of pain. Well, to clarify this doubt, we must say that fungi do not always cause pain in the area. The problem progresses progressively and causes this symptom when the infection has reached a higher level of severity.

    Symptoms of fungus can include the following:

    • Changes in nail color
    • Nails that thicken or become deformed
    • Nail breakage or total loss of nail
    • Pain and itching in the skin around the nail

    What Does Nail Disease Look Like

    Fungal Nails

    Several symptoms may alert you to a problem with nail fungus or disease. These include:

    • Streaks or white spots on the surface of a nail
    • Discoloration of brown or gray on the nail
    • Crumbling of a nail
    • The nail becomes soft

    If the nail and underlying skin are both affected by infection, symptoms may include brittleness or breaking, thickening of the nail, or yellow streaks underneath the nail.

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