Nail fungus is a common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. In certain sever cases, where the fungal infection goes deeper, nail fungus can cause your nail to discolor, thicken or crumble along the edges.
Funguses tend to spread quite easily and are known to be contagious. Therefore, once one nail is affected, the fungus will spread to the rest of the nails over time.
The fungus will eventually worsen if left untreated. Nails will thicken, and discoloration will get worse, this may be with some pain.
Some common symptoms associated with nail fungus are:
- Thickened nails
- White/yellowing nails
- Oddly shaped nails
- Slight smell
- Dirt buildup under toenails
- Brittle or broken nails
Can it spread to other parts of the body?
When the fungus spreads to the skin between the toes, it becomes athlete’s foot. In certain rare cases, it can even affect the fingernails. It is unlikely for the fungus to spread to any other parts of the body.
Fungal nail infections are caused by the presence of fungi called dermatophyte, and in some cases mold or yeast. These fungi come about as a result of poor hygiene, sweating, walking barefoot in gyms and showers, and other habits. When nails become brittle and begin to crack, this provides the entry point that fungi need to infect the nail. Patient’s with poor circulation and a weakened immune system are highly susceptible to these fungi.
Athlete’s foot is caused by the same fungus, so fungal nail infections can lead to athlete’s foot and vice versa.
Prevention and Treatment
In order to prevent the fungus that causes such nail disorders, you should keep good hygiene habits. Change your socks and wash your feet after the gym or working out, anytime your feet become overly sweaty.
To treat nail fungus, we use a number of methods. We use certain antifungal drugs to treat the fungal infection. Also, laser treatments, topical ointments, and chemical baths may be necessary to repair the damaged skin and nails.