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Onychomycosis   (Toe Nail Fungus)

Also known as onychomycosis, toenail fungus is a common problem and one of the most frequently treated foot conditions. It is a slow-growing infection caused by dermatophytes, which are fungi that infect skin, hair, and nails. Other fungi such as yeast and molds can also cause toenail fungus.

The most common changes that occur with toenail fungal infections include:

  • Discoloration beneath the nail, usually brown, white, or yellow​

  • Thickening of the nail​

  • An increase in white debris beneath the nail which is keratin, a protein that gives form to skin and nails​

  • Infected part of nail may become loose or separate from the nail bed​

  • Nail appears to "crumble" or breakdown

Who Gets Toenail Fungus?

Toenail fungus can affect anyone but becomes more prevalent with aging. Individuals with certain diseases -- such as diabetes, diseases that affect limb circulation -- are more susceptible to fungal nail infections, along with people who have suppressed immune systems.

Other risk factors include:

  • Hyperhidrosis, or a tendency toward sweaty feet

  • Frequent fungal skin infections

  • Trauma to the nail

  • Shoe wear--which provides a moist, dark, and warm environment for fungi to thrive

 
 

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