Also known as onychomycosis. Fungal infection of the nails, nail bed, and often the surrounding tissue. Cosmetically unsightly, but particular attention to prevention and prompt treatment should be paid by people with diabetes or immune disorders. Thickened nails can cause pressure on the nail bed in side footwear and pinching of the skin of the toes, leading to potential secondary conditions.
What causes it?
Fungus gains entry, often by previous damage or trauma to the nail or nail bed. Fungus thrives in warm, moist areas such as the bathroom shower, carpet, locker room floors, and swimming pool change rooms and deck areas. It enters the body through open cracks or sores; it remains there to cause infection and spread if feet are not well washed and dried after exposure. It can spread to other parts of the body. People with diabetes and the elderly are particularly susceptible because their immune system is often compromised.
Signs and Symptoms:
Cracking, yellow to brown discolouration, thickening, crumbling, spotting and streaking or loss of toenail.
Prevention and Treatments:
Thorough washing with soap and drying of feet will help prevent infection and re-infection.
Good cleaning and sanitation practices on surfaces prone to hold the fungus; this will help prevent infection and re-infection.
Wear protective shoes in public areas with high risk of holding the fungal spores such as public showers, swimming pools, locker rooms, hotel bathrooms and carpets, etc.
Wear clean, dry shoes, socks, panty hose, etc.; remember that old footwear items must either be sanitized or discarded following an infection or re-infection may occur.
If infection occurs, see your Chiropodist for treatment such as an anti-fungal prescription.
Your Chiropodist can provide further footwear advice.