Onychomycosis is a chronic fungal infection of the nails caused by dermatophytes (fungal Hyphae).
Why did I get it?
- The fungal spores like warm, humid environments
- Dermatophyte fungi live on the nail plate and repeated minor trauma permits the fungal organism to invade the nail plate and become established
- Tight occlusive footwear causes crowding of the toes, promoting fungal infection
- Communal showers, where untreated fungal organisms can spread rapidly
- Occupations requiring constant hand washing
- Diseases that influence local and systemic immunity can predispose to onychomycosis, including diabetes mellitus, HIV, and peripheral ischemia
How is it diagnosed?
In some cases physical exam alone is enough to identify a fungal nail. However in some cases physical exam is unreliable as there are so many conditions that can make nails look damaged. A nail sample can be taken from your podiatrist to be sent away for laboratory testing.
Topical antifungal treatments are the most common form treatment. There are oral anti fungals prescribed by a doctor but can only be taken for a certain period of time. Have you nails cut and thinned down by a podiatrist will allow better absortion of topical treatments. Treatment is a lengthy recovery and can take up to and over a year, photos taken of the condition of your nail are helpful in ensuring treatment is successful. Sometimes you will need to change anti-fungal treatment.