21 June, 2010

Common foot problems - Fungal Infection!

Toenail fungus, known as Onychomycosis, Fungal infections occur when microscopic fungi gain entry through a small trauma in the nail, then grow and spread in the warm, moist environment inside the patient's socks and shoes.

Symptoms of toenail fungus, which can be caused by several types of fungi, include swelling, yellowing, thickening or crumbling of the nail, streaks or spots down the side of the nail, and even complete loss of the nail. Toenail color can vary from brown or yellow to white with this condition.

Fungal infections can affect the fingernails as well as the toenails, but toenail fungus is more difficult to treat because toenails grow more slowly. It occurs most often on the big or small toe, but might occur on any toe.


Toenail fungus can be picked up in damp areas. Athletes and people who wear tight-fitting shoes or tight hosiery that cause trauma to the toes or keep the feet from drying out are at higher risk. The condition can also spread from one toe to another, or to other parts of the body.

Other risk factors include abnormal PH level of the skin, not drying off the feet thoroughly after bathing or exercise, and a compromised immune system in someone who has been exposed to a fungus. Diabetics have an increased risk of contracting a toenail fungus because their immune system is compromised. They should have their nails cut and debrided by a podiatrist.

Treatment and Prevention

Because it is difficult to treat or eradicate toenail fungus, it is a good idea to try to prevent it.

Wash your feet regularly, and dry them thoroughly when they get wet. Wearing nail polish on the toes is not advised because it can seal in fungus and allow it to grow. Keep toenails trimmed, and be sure to disinfect any pedicure tools before using them.

If you do develop toenail fungus, see your foot doctor. The doctor might remove as much of the nail as possible by trimming, filing or dissolving it. Medicated nail polish might be prescribed for a localized infection, but a serious infection will likely be treated with a prescription oral antifungal medication. These medications can have side effects, so be sure to work closely with your doctor on your treatment plan. Only in severe cases will surgical removal of the nail be recommended.


  1. Most of the times,oral anti fungals will not help as they dont reach the nail.As you said prevention is best.

  2. I agree that PREVENTION is better than CURE..

    What causes yellow toenails

  3. Toenail fungus is a very terrible disease to have. Toenail fungus can be treated with home remedies and you should take care of your feet during toe nail fungus. toenail treatment

  4. Try using Teatree oil. I am a type 1 diabetic battling this fungus for at least 5 years. Seriously this is the only thing that has worked. I took a three month medication from a podiatrist to help clear it up, and Teatree is soooooo much better than the medication was (plus it's natural and has no bad side effects) might as well give it a try!

    1. Oh, and you will have to apply it directly onto the toenail, at least two times daily, it will take months for the nail to grow out, but it will improve!!!!

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