Nail Fungus: What is it and How did I get it?
Nail fungus is an infection of the nail caused by a dermatophyte, a type of fungus that lives off of skin cells. It is often the same kind of fungus that causes "athletes foot" and other fungal conditions of the skin. The nail becomes thickened, yellow, brittle and can have a bad odor. Other appearance can include white spotting on the nail or debrie under the nail bed.
Nail infection can occur from injury to the nail (stubbing the toe), which can allow fungal cells on the skin to get under the nail bed. It can also occur through dirrect transfer, such as using an infected pair of nail scissors or improper cleaing of equipment at a nail salon.
Nail fungus can be difficult to treat and most over the counter products do not work. We do not recommend soaking your toes in bleach or listerine as this can cause additional damage and irritation to the surrounding skin and will not improve the fungus. Topical treatments, oral medication, nail removal and laser therapy are used most frequently for treatment depending on sevearity of the infection.
If you think you may have a nail issue it is best to have it checked by a Podiatrist. Not all nail discoloration is fungus and patients are sometimes treated needlesly for fungal infections with no relief. Call us today for an evaluation at 480-632-5757.
Chris Suykerbuyk, DPM, FACFAS