Fungal toenails (onychomycosis) are a common condition. They begin with a white or yellow spot under the toenail. As the fungal infection develops the whole nail can discolour, thicken and become crumbly. It can affect one or all nails.
Treatment includes applying a nail lacquer regularly to the affected nails and to keep the nail(s) reduced with a podiatry nail burr. In certain and extreme instances it is sometimes recommended to have the nail(s) surgically removed and there is a 50% chance that the nail may grow back non-infected. Applying a nail conditioner and avoiding nail varnish can be useful.
Unfortunately fungal nail infections are stubborn, difficult to treat and often return.
- Genetic propensity
- As toenails tend to live in dark sometimes moist environments (inside shoes) fungi like this type of environment so can thrive
- Toes have a less of a blood supply than finger tips so the immunity to detect and reduce infection is lessened
- Living with someone who has nail fungus
- Walking barefoot in damp communal areas, such as swimming pools, gyms and shower rooms
- Having athlete’s foot
- Having a minor skin or nail injury or a skin condition, such as psoriasis
- Having diabetes, circulation problems, a weakened immune system or, in children, Down syndrome