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Fungal Nails

FUNGAL NAIL INFECTION

What is it?

Fungal nail infection, or onychomycosis, is an infection primarily caused by organisms called dermatophytes that reside on the nail bed and plate underlying the surface of the nail. It has little to do with personal cleanliness and is an extremely common condition, yet many people have not seen a chiropodist to address it.

What might it look like?

Once infected, you may notice discolouration to the nail; it may change to a yellow/brown or darker colour. The nail may thicken and become flaky and debris may get caught underneath the nail causing a foul odor.

What can cause it?

The formula to getting fungal nails is based on two things: the condition of the toe nail paired with exposure to the fungus that causes the infection. Something that weakens the nail, such as banging it, trimming it too closely, or wearing ill-fitting footwear, can make it the ideal location for the infection to reside. Ideally we want to prevent any nail bed exposure or else the following locations become prime places to pick up the fungus that causes the infection:

  • Locker rooms
  • Swimming pools
  • Showers
  • Gardens
  • Pedicure/Manicure salons

In addition, certain chronic disorders make people more susceptible to fungal nail infections. Conditions like diabetes, circulatory problems, and immunological deficiencies (such as AIDS/HIV infection) all put people at increased risk. Some other high risk groups include the elderly, people with a history of athlete’s foot and people whose feet perspire a lot.

What can I do to alleviate it?

Unfortunately, the nail provides the perfect protective environment for the infection to thrive, making it more probable to spread to your other toes and potentially other people. At Clarke Ventresca Foot and Orthotic Centres we have many treatment options available to you. Remember, fungal nail infections will not go away on their own, and there is no reason for you to have to suffer through them or keep them hidden away.