Fungal nail infections are most commonly caused by dermatophytes, which subsist on keratin and are therefore apt to affect the nails. However, there are other varieties of fungi capable of triggering such infections, such as yeasts and molds. These fungi can invade the nail bed or nail plate and cause a variety of problems.
Toenails are far more susceptible to fungal nail infection due to often being encased in a dark, damp environment within shoes, which creates the ideal breeding ground for fungi. People with diabetes or weakened immune systems are also particularly prone to this type of infection.
The tell-tale signs of a fungal nail infection may include:
A stark alteration of the nail’s hue, often taking a shade of yellow or brown, can be observed.
• A Firm Nail: Signs of Thickening • Fragmented or Crumbling Tips • Separation from the Bedding Layer • Foreign Traces Below the Nailplate • Unpleasant Odor Coming from the Nails
When a fungal affliction goes neglected, the nail can become misshapen and, in the worst of situations, drop away from the skin. Furthermore, in cases of utmost severity, the context of infection may expand to encompass more of the dermis, resulting in an incredibly hazardous bacterial skin infection simply known as cellulitis.
Those with fungal nail infections may resort to antifungal treatments either by applying them to the affected nails or orally taking them. Of the oral antifungals, terbinafine (Lamisil) is the most typically used one. Although symptoms may dissipate, it is important to persist with the treatment regimen until it has been entirely exhausted, in order to guarantee that the infection has been eradicated. The whole process can last a few months.
If oral antifungal medicines fail to treat an infection, the infected nail may have to be removed via surgery. While a replacement nail is likely to arrive in a few months, it may take some time for it to regain its typical appearance.
Fighting fungal nail infections starts with basic care – keep nails clean and dry, wear shoes that promote air flow, and for those with diabetes, make sure blood sugar remains managed. In doing so, you can successfully thwart any potential infections.