Toenail fungus has become a very common and benign problem in the recent years. The credit mainly goes to the modern lifestyle. Toenail fungus is a fairly common condition that disfigures and can destroy the toenail. The most commonly affected are the big toe and the little toe. This condition is caused by any one of the many types of fungi that grow in the moist warm environment inside the shoes. As they grow, they invade and feed on the protein i.e., keratin, that makes up the hard surface of the toenails.
Toenail fungus is rare in children but the incidence increases with age.
Wearing tight-fitting shoes and layers of nail polish increases the risk of developing toenail fungus. It can also be spread from person-to-person in public areas, such as locker rooms and showers. The risk of toenail fungus also increases with chronic condition affecting the circulatory conditions such as diabetes.
The symptoms of toenail fungus are:
• The affected nail becomes discolored (yellow or brown).
• The nail becomes thick and overgrown.
• Foul smelling debris is noticed under the nail.
• The nail may eventually crumble and fall off or may become so thick that it is painful to wear the shoes.
A sample if the infected nail is usually taken for the microscopic analysis of the toenail fungus.
Depending upon the severity of the fungus, the medication is usually provided. However, people with chronic health condition should immediately see the doctor if they observe any changes in the nail condition. This may be an indication of a rather more serious problem.
The following steps can be taken to prevent the occurrence of toenail fungus:
• Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes and clean hosiery every day,
• Allow the shoes to dry thoroughly between successive wearing,
• Wash the feet daily, dry them thoroughly, and use a good-quality foot powder,
• Keep your toenails trimmed,
• Avoid applying layers of nail polish.