Toenail fungus is a common condition that can disfigure
or destroy the nail. Toe nail fungus is caused by many
different types of mold and mildew related fungi. These
fungi love the dark and moist environment
they find inside your shoes. They grow and feed on keratin,
the strong protein that is in the hard surface of your
toenails. Worldwide toenail fungus affects 2 percent
to 18 percent of all people. In the United States the
percentage is 3 to 5 percent. Children are not usually
affected; the chances of contracting nail fungus increases
Anyone with poor foot hygiene is at risk of developing
toenail fungus, but for those who wear tight fitting
shoes or hosiery are at a higher risk. Also the nail
needs to breathe, so if you wear layers of toe nail polish
this is another risk factor. Military personnel, athletes,
and miners are some of the most common people that contract
nail fungus. Toenail fungus can be spread from foot to
foot on the floors locker or shower
rooms. The big toe and little toe are the ones that toenail
fungus usually appears in first. They get the most abuse
from the sides of your shoe.
Toenail fungus is characterized by turning yellow or
brown and will become thick and overgrown. Also, debris
may accumulate under the nail that has an offensive odor.
As the infection worsens your nail may
crumble or fall off or it may even become so thick that
it is very uncomfortable or painful when wearing shoes.
There are ways you can help in preventing yourself from
getting toenail fungus. Allow your feet some breathing
room by wearing comfortable footwear and hosiery. When
you are in showers or locker rooms
that are frequented by many people wear shoes, sandals,
or flip flops. Wash your feet on a daily basis remembering
to dry them thoroughly and then use a quality foot powder.
Always wear clean socks every
day. Keep your toenails trimmed. Always remember to disinfect
all your pedicure tools before using them.
Treating toenail fungus can be as easy as clipping or
filing off the infected part of the toenail. It is possible
that your doctor can prescribe a medicated nail polish
that you would apply twice a week until the nail
fungus is gone. If more than one nail is infected with
nail fungus your doctor may prescribe an oral medication
that can be taken daily for up to 12 weeks. There are
side effects with these oral medications
that your doctor will explain to you. If the toe nail
fungus is not going away with any of the prescribed cures,
it may have to surgically removed.