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What Causes Finger Nail Fungus

What Causes Fungal Nails And What Are Some Of The Risk Factors

What is nail fungus?

In normal, healthy people, fungal infections of the nails are most commonly caused by fungus that is caught from moist, wet areas. Communal showers, such as those at a gym or swimming pools, are common sources. Going to nail salons that use inadequate sanitization of instruments in addition to living with family members who have fungal nails are also risk factors. Athletes have been proven to be more susceptible to nail fungus. This is presumed to be due to the wearing of tight-fitting, sweaty shoes associated with repetitive trauma to the toenails. Having athlete’s foot makes it more likely that the fungus will infect your toenails. Repetitive trauma also weakens the nail, which makes the nail more susceptible to fungal infection.

Elderly people and people with certain underlying disease states are also at higher risk. Anything that impairs your immune system can make you prone to getting infected with the fungus. These include conditions such as AIDS, diabetes, cancer, psoriasis, or taking any immunosuppressive medications like steroids.

How Will I Know If I Have Onycholysis

Onycholysis is easy to spot. If you notice that your nail is beginning to lift or peel away from the nail bed underneath, you have onycholysis.

Finding out the underlying cause might be trickier. You may need to visit a dermatologist, especially if it affects more than one digit of your fingers or toes. The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if you dont already have a doctor.

Acrylic Nail Fungus Symptoms

If you are an acrylic nail lover, it is imperative for you to understand the symptoms of Acrylic nails fungus first. So, that you may rush to the treatment on the slightest symptoms. Otherwise, you may lose the entire nail.

Below are the commons symptoms that you can note if you get fungus on your nails.

  • Discoloration. Your nail may turn whitish, yellow or green. In severe cases it will become black, if not treated on time.
  • A slight pain around your nail. This is the time when the fungus has started growing under the nail.
  • Redness around your nail.
  • Itchiness that may feel like burning

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Diagnosis And Treatment Of Nail Problems

Any abnormal changes to your nails should be medically investigated. See your doctor for treatment or possible referral to a dermatologist. If the cause of your nail problem is not immediately apparent, your doctor may take nail clippings and scrapings from beneath the nail for laboratory analysis. Fingernail infections usually respond faster to treatment than toenail infections.Depending on the cause, treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Antifungal preparations, mainly oral tablets, for fungal infections in the nails
  • Treatment for any contributing skin disease
  • Advice on appropriate nail care.

Who Can Develop Fungal Infections

Nail Fungus

There are many different causes of fungal nail infections each cause has a treatment of its own. Many causes of fungal nail infections are preventable, some risk factors raise the likelihood of developing this condition. Nail infections occur more than men than women, and infections in adults are more often than children. If one has family members who get different types of fungal infections, you’re more likely to get this fingernail fungus. They have poorer circulation, and nails grow slowly and thicken as they age.

Fungal infections of the nail may impact part of the nail, the entire nail or several nails. Common signs of a nail fungal infection include distortions in the nail that lift off the nail bed, a smell emanating from the infected nail, a thickened or even a brittle nail.

Other infections mimic symptoms of fungal nail infection, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to see the doctor. They will take the scraping of the nail and look under the microscope for indications of fungus. Doctors may have to send a sample to the lab for analysis and identification. These habits can prevent nail fungus.

Wash the hands and feet frequently and wash your hands after exposure to an infected nail. Moisturize fingernails post a wash. Trim fingernails right across, smoothen the rims with the file and work on thickened regions. Disinfecting nail clippers even after a single usage is also advisable.

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What About The Cost Of Oral Medications For Fungal Nails

A further consideration is cost. Because newer oral antifungal agents are very expensive, some insurance companies balk at paying for what they consider a “cosmetic issue,” unless nail fungus causes pain or other functional symptoms. Terbinafine and fluconazole are now available as generic drugs and are quite inexpensive.

Causes And Solutions: Toenail Fungus

Fungal infections can happen to anyone and anywhere. Some people have fungal infections in their hair, organs or even toenails.

The most common fungal infection is seen in the toenails. A fungus is very common and everyone has it in their bodies, but when a fungus multiples and fungi begin to thrive, you may have a serious toenail infection.

Although it may appear to be ugly, it is harmless till it spreads to your bloodstream.

Most people treat toenail fungus because it looks bad and can be painful sometimes. It may even be a danger to your health if it reaches the bloodstream.

Also Check: How To Cure Yellow Toenail Fungus

Why Does It Develop

A fungal nail infection occurs from the overgrowth of fungi in, under, or on the nail. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, so this type of environment can cause them to naturally overpopulate. The same fungi that cause jock itch, athletes foot, and ringworm can cause nail infections.

Fungi that are already present in or on your body can cause nail infections. If you have come in contact with someone else who has a fungal infection, you may have contracted it as well. Fungal infections affect toenails more commonly than fingernails, likely because your toes are usually confined to shoes, where theyre in a warm, moist environment.

If you get a manicure or pedicure at a nail salon, be sure to ask how the staff disinfects their tools and how often they do it. Tools, such as emery boards and nail clippers, can spread fungal infections from person to person if theyre not sanitized.

Can I Wear Nail Polish If I Have Toenail Fungus

What is toenail fungus?

You may feel tempted to cover up a discolored toenail with nail polish. If you are using a topical antifungal, you probably should not use polish. Some providers may tell you not to wear it in any case. Polish traps in moisture from the nailbed . Because fungi thrive in moist environments, wearing nail polish may make a fungal infection worse. However, the nail continues to grow with or without polish.

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Can You Prevent Toenail Fungus

If your toenail fungus is caused by something in your control , then yes. You can:

  • Wear shoes in public areas, especially ones that are typically wet, like pools and gyms.
  • Keep foot injuries clean and covered until they’re healed.
  • Protect your overall health by not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Wear supportive and breathable shoes.
  • You also may see a reduction in bouts of toenail fungus by keeping your toenails consistently clean, dry, trimmed, and free of nail polish .

    However, many causes of toenail fungus are caused by other conditions, like chronic illness, old age, and diabetes, and there may not be much you can do to prevent fungus in these situations. Dr. Spielfogel does recommend using preventative products if you know you’re at risk for fungal infections the Dr.’s Remedy line of nail care products, for example, includes an antifungal cuticle oil that can be used nightly to reduce the risk of fungal growth.

    How Do I Know If I Have A Fungal Nail Infection

    Because other infections can affect the nail and mimic symptoms of a fungal nail infection, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to see a doctor. Theyll take a scraping of the nail and look under a microscope for signs of fungus.

    In some cases, your doctor may send the sample to a lab for analysis and identification.

    Over-the-counter products arent usually recommended to treat nail infections since they dont provide reliable results. Instead, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication, such as:

    • terbinafine

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    What Is Toenail Fungus

    Toenail fungus is a widespread fungal infection that affects the toenails. Less commonly, nail fungus infects the fingernails. Nail fungus is also called onychomycosis.

    Toenail fungus happens when fungi get between the toenail and the toenail bed . This usually happens through a crack or cut in your toe.

    Special Groups At Risk For Complications In Severe Onychomycosis

    Causes of Fingernail Fungus  Forces of Nature Medicine

    Delaying the treatment of a nail fungus until its late stages can be excruciatingly challenging. For some people with other diseases/conditions, avoiding the onset of severe onychomycosis is essential. The dangers that involve the end-stage nail disease can lead to an even more harmful situation for them.

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    Foot Pain And Discomfort

    Generally, nail fungus is painless which can lead it to being ignored and left untreated. Nail fungal infections make the nails thickened and deformed. Initially, they might not seem worrying, but ignoring a nail fungus can become painful overtime. The pain begins when the thickening of the nail causes a hindrance when wearing certain footwear. There might be difficulty in walking, and change in footwear may be deemed necessary.

    Whos At Risk For Fungal Infections

    There are many different causes of fungal nail infections. Each cause has a treatment of its own. Although many of the causes of a fungal nail infection are preventable, some risk factors increase the likelihood of developing one. Youre more likely to develop a fungal nail infection if you:

    • wear closed-toe shoes, such as tennis shoes or boots

    Nail infections occur more often in men than in women, and the infections are found in adults more often than in children. If you have family members who often get these types of fungal infections, youre more likely to get them as well.

    Older adults have a high risk for getting fungal nail infections because they have poorer circulation. The nails also grow more slowly and thicken as we age.

    A fungal infection of the nail may affect part of the nail, the entire nail, or several nails.

    Common signs of a fungal nail infection include:

    • a distorted nail that may lift off from the nail bed
    • an odor coming from the infected nail
    • a brittle or thickened nail

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    Inflammation Of The Skin Alongside The Nail Paronychia

    The skin lying alongside the nail can become infected with bacteria, typically Staphylococcus aureus. This infection is called paronychia. Symptoms may include pain, redness and swelling around the cuticle and yellow-green discharge.Treatment for paronychia includes:

    • Keeping your feet as dry as possible
    • Use of barrier creams, antiseptic lotions and antifungal preparations
    • Antibiotic therapy .

    Chronic paronychia is more difficult to treat. In chronic paronychia, the nail may distort and become discoloured, and the skin may lift at the site of infection. Sometimes, the inflammation spreads from one nail to another. A range of micro-organisms working together are responsible for chronic paronychia.

    How Can You Prevent Nail Fungus

    Fungal Nail Infection, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

    Some lifestyle changes may be just enough for you to prevent fungal infections, such as:

    • Trim your nails properly and often in order to avoid infections.
    • Try not to injure the skin around your nails.
    • If you are going to wet your hands while doing the dishes, its better to wear gloves.
    • Use anti-fungal sprays.
    • Dry your feet as soon as you get out of the shower, especially your toes.
    • Getting manicures or pedicures from trustworthy salons.

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    How To Get Rid Of Fingernail Fungus From Acrylic Nails

    Nail fungus can be treated through two ways, first the conventional ways such as visiting the doctors and dermatologist , and the second way of treatment is some home remedies. We will share both the prevalent ways to treat nail fungus caused by acrylic nails.

    The good way is to go for the Conventional methods which are more reliable than normal home remedies which gonna take months and months to kill the fungus.

    However, there are many ways in which, you can get as efficient results as you would get after a medical checkup and prescription from the doctor and that way is to have a good combination of a natural ingredients medicine for fungus and the home remedies and about this, you can check out detailed guide on the methods for the treatment of nail fungus here.

    The conventional methods are both cheap and costly, the pills are cheap and also fix fungus within like two months, however, the other treatment i.e. laser, will be costly. But both of these methods will give you very fast results.

    Let’s discuss both the conventional methods and the home remedies.

    What To Do If You Have An Infection

    As always, prevention is better than necessary intervention. Things like washing your hands and feet often, disinfecting nail clippers and cutting them properly, and wearing sweat-absorbing socks will help. Wearing clean socks and letting your feet breathe also helps to prevent infection. Always wear shoes or sandals in settings such as public pools or change rooms, and you also may want to give up your acrylic nail habit.

    If you have an infected nail, trimming and thinning that nail will help. You can also purchase over-the-counter antifungal nail creams and ointments. If these dont work, your doctor may prescribe you:

    • Medicated nail polish
    • Medicated nail cream

    In some instances, surgical removal of the nail may be necessary. The most important aspect is if you have a nail infection, dont wait to do something about it until its really bad. Take care of it quickly so you dont have to resort to more drastic measures.

    What Is The Anatomy Of The Nail

    To have a better understanding of how fungal nail infection affects the nail, a general knowledge of the anatomy of the nail is helpful . The nail, or nail unit, consists of the following parts:

    • The nail matrix is where nail cells multiply and keratinize before being incorporated into the fingernail or toenail. Most of the matrix is not visible. The matrix starts under the skin 5 mm below the nail fold and covers the area called the lunula, or half moon .
    • The cuticle is a fold of modified skin where the finger or toe meets the nail. The cuticle protects the matrix from infection.
    • The nail plate is the nail itself.
    • The nail bed is the soft tissue underneath the nail, anchoring the nail plate. The nail plate protects the nail bed.

    When Should You See A Doctor

    Causes of Nail Fungus (and How to Treat It)

    It’s tempting to dismiss toenail fungus as an unsightly but mainly harmless problem. Like so many other health issues, though, ignoring it will only make things worse down the line.

    “You should see a podiatrist when you notice the problem and treat it early,” advises Dr. Spielfogel. “If left untreated, which is very common, the infection will spread to the rest of the nail and eventually spread to the other nails.”

    Once you make an appointment, your podiatrist will give your feet a thorough examination and will probably take a biopsy, or sample, of your nail to be sent away for testing. This will help your doctor confirm that you have an infection and not some other issue, as well as figure out exactly what type of infection you have, Dr. Spielfogel explains.

    From there, your doctor can work with you on a treatment plan to get rid of your toenail fungus for good.

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    How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose A Fungal Nail Infection

    Fungal nail infection can be identified by its appearance. However, other conditions and infections can cause problems in the nails that look like fungal nail infection. Fungal nail infection must be confirmed by laboratory tests before beginning treatment, because treatment is long, expensive, and does have some risks.

    What Are The Potential Complications Of Toenail Fungus

    Toenail fungus rarely results in serious complications in people who are otherwise healthy. However, many people find the look of toenail fungus embarrassing. People with diabetes, circulation problems, or weakened immune systems have a higher risk of complications. The main one being cellulitisa bacterial infection of the surrounding skin.

    Left untreated, toenail fungus can spread to other nails. It can also progress to nail thickening and detachment. This can make walking or wearing shoes painful. Untreated toenail fungus can lead to permanent nail damage as well. Even after successful treatment, severe infections can leave nails with enduring changes. Recurrence is also common. As with most other conditions, seeking early treatment when symptoms are mild usually results in the best outcome. Once treatment is over, talk with your doctor and ask about ways to reduce the risk of toenail fungus returning.

  • Fungal Nail Infections. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • How to Prevent Athletes Foot. American Academy of Dermatology.
  • Kamrani P, Pillarisetty LS. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Toe Nails. . In: StatPearls . Treasure Island : StatPearls Publishing 2021 Jan-. Available from:
  • Nail Fungus. American Academy of Dermatology.
  • Signs And Symptoms Of A Fungal Nail Infection

    A fungal nail infection may not cause any obvious symptoms at first.

    As it progresses, the infection can cause:

    • discolouration of the nail it may turn white, black, yellow or green
    • thickening and distortion of the nail it may become an unusual shape or texture and be difficult to trim
    • pain or discomfort particularly when using or placing pressure on the affected toe or finger
    • brittle or crumbly nails pieces may break off and come away completely

    Sometimes the skin nearby may also become infected and be itchy and cracked or red and swollen.

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