Toenail Fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a fungal infection of the toenails that can cause discoloration, thickening, and crumbling of the nails. It is caused by certain types of fungi that feed off protein and keratin in the nail plate. The most common type of fungus responsible for this condition includes dermatophytes, molds, and yeasts. The first sign of toenail fungus is typically a white or yellow spot underneath the tip of the nail. As it spreads deeper into the nail, it will cause the nail to thicken and become brittle. The infected area may also be accompanied by itching or burning sensations. In some cases, toenails may even separate from their beds due to pressure from beneath them caused by the fungus.
To accurately diagnose onychomycosis, a podiatrist will conduct a physical examination to evaluate any indicators of infection, such as discoloration or flaking near the nails. Moreover, they may collect samples from suspicious areas and send them for laboratory analysis. Treatment plans vary according to severity; however, medications like antifungal creams or oral tablets are commonly prescribed in order to fully rid the body of its presence. Procedural methods, including surgery and laser therapy, might be needed if other treatments fail to provide an adequate remedy.
Toenail fungus can be difficult to combat, so it’s critical for those affected to take an active interest in monitoring their feet closely. Containment of the condition is essential; proper hygiene measures should always be observed – such as wearing socks and shoes that are breathable and dry. This environment inhibits fungi from thriving, making prevention a simpler process than remedy.