Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails. This ailment causes the nail to thicken, discolor, disfigure, and split. At first glance, onychomycosis appears to be only a cosmetic concern. However, without treatment, the toenails can become abnormally thick, forcing the toe to press against the inside of the shoes, causing pressure, irritation, and pain. If the disease continues to progress without treatment, onychomycosis may interfere with standing, walking, and exercising.
Onychomycosis is easily identified by its appearance, but there are similar conditions and infections that can cause similar symptoms. Often a biopsy of the nail is obtained to make an accurate diagnosis. Foot fungus should always be diagnosed by a qualified professional before you begin treatment.
Risk factors making one more susceptible to onychomycosis include:
* Advancing age
* Barefoot contact in public spaces (eg. public shower)
* Wearing shoes without good airflow (dark / warm / moist environment)
Treatments for onychomycosis vary depending on the individual and the severity of the case. Laser treatments can often be misleading as to providing a cure vs. simply a temporary clearing of the nail. Although most topical medications are not very effective, some are far better than others. Oral prescription medications can be safe and effective for certain individuals.