Nail fungus, also called onychomycosis (on-ih-koh-my-KOH-sis) or tinea unguium is a common condition that affects many patients. Medical estimates show that between 3% and 12% of the population are affected to some degree. Nail fungus is more common in older people, and people with compromised immune systems are even more susceptible.
The first sign of the fungus may be a white or yellow spot under the tip of your toenail. As the infection worsens, nail fungus may cause discoloration, thickening and crumbling of the nails. It can affect several nails but usually not all of them. Initially, the fungus is likely to be mild and not cause any problems other than an unusual appearance. This is the ideal time to seek treatment so that the fungus does not grow or spread. If it does, it can cause thickened or discolored nails and discomfort.
Who Is At Risk of Contracting Nail Fungus?
Many risk factors leave you at risk for a fungal infection, including:
- poor circulation in the legs, especially as a complication of an existing conditions like diabetes or peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
- skin conditions, such as psoriasis
- a weakened immune system
- genetic predisposition
- an already-existing fungal infection such as athlete’s foot
- exposure in contaminated public places such as nail salons, swimming pools, gyms and saunas
- damaged nail beds
- dirty or poorly-fitting shoes
Spotting Nail Fungus
Signs that you’ve developed toenail fungus include:
- brittle or discolored nails, especially on the big toe, which is most likely to be affected
- a whitish-yellow or brownish discoloration developing on the front or sides of the nails
- soft, easily broken nail
- thicker or abnormally-shaped nails
- pain around the nails
- a nail that detaches from the skin or nail bed
- white patches forming on the surface of the nail, either in large blotches or an array of small dots
Treating a Fungal Infection
Do you think that you have toenail fungus? Persistent fungal infections can manifest slowly andlast for years. Getting rid of toenail fungus can take some patience and may take several months until treatment is successful. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be better.
Click here or call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. at 410-224-4448 today to schedule an appointment with James M. McKee, DPM, FACFAS in our convenient Annapolis office. He will examine your feet, diagnose your issue, and work with you to determine the best course of action.