Onychomycosis is most commonly referred to as a fungal nail infection, and is very common in both toe and fingernails. This condition is most common in people aged over 60. Fungal infections cause the nail to discolour, thicken, crumble and split. Often the fungal nail infection are just a cosmetic concern but can become painful due to changes of nail shape.
Onychomycosis is caused when the fungal organism penetrates the nail to cause an infection underneath the nail. Damage to a clear nail causing it to lift off of the nail bed can often give the fungal organism a portal of entry, once the fungal is underneath the nail itself provides a protective cover which allows the fungal to grow unaffected.
Fungi thrive in warm and moist environments, the primary fungi that causes onychomycosis are dermatophytes.
Clinical diagnosis of onychomycosis is based on a physical examination, and if needed a sample may be taken to assess the specific nail specimen. Several nail disorders may mimic fungal nail infections.
Onychomycosis can be a very difficult condition to treat due to how slowly nails grow. Treatments generally work by reducing the spread of the fungus and waiting for the nail to grow out. This can in some cases take years.
If you suspect you have developed a fungal toenail infection it is advised that you see your friendly podiatrist at Coast Sport who can professionally diagnose and treat the condition.