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Common Causes of Onychomycosis

toenail fungus
Onychomycosis, also known as a fungal nail infection, is a condition that affects the fingernails and toenails, but it is most common on the toenails. It causes the nails to become thick, brittle and discolored.There are several common causes of onychomycosis. The condition affects more men than women, but it can strike anyone, though it is more common among the elderly. An estimated 10% of the U.S. adult popular is affected by onychomycosis.

Common Causes of Onychomycosis

Onychomycosis occurs when fungi infects the nail, and the potential causes are numerous. Wearing shoes that do not provide adequate ventilation when sweating or spending time in humid environments can lead to infections. Public moist environments, such as gyms, pools and locker rooms, are common sources of fungal infections. Nail fungus can also be transferred on improperly sanitized tools for manicures and pedicures. If you have an injury to the nail or the skin surrounding the nail or you have athlete’s foot or another type of infection, you are more likely to get onychomycosis. Individuals with compromised immune systems or poor circulation are also more prone to fungal infections of the nails.

Onychomycosis Treatments

Treating onychomycosis is a challenge, so it is important to avoid the common causes of onychomycosis whenever possible. Because the fungi is located beneath the surface of the nail, it can be difficult for topical treatments and systemic medications to reach the site of the infection. Both methods have limited success, and they work very slowly. Systemic medications can also cause liver damage. Recently, laser treatments have been used to successfully treat onychomycosis. The laser works by killing the fungus beneath the nail without causing damage to the surrounding tissue. As the nail grows, the infected nail grows out and is replaced with the new healthy nail.

Complications of Onychomycosis

When left untreated, onychomycosis can lead to numerous physical and emotional complications. When fungal infections occur on the fingernails, they can lead to emotional distress and even social and professional problems due to embarrassment. Fungal infections can lead to infections that spread to other parts of the body, especially individuals with compromised immune systems or poor circulation. Onychomycosis can also lead to permanent damage to the nails as well as pain and discomfort due to thickening and splitting of the nails. In severe cases, toenails can become so thick that wearing shoes is painful. Because of the potential for complications, it is important to seek medical attention for fungal infections of the nails.

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