Onychomycosis (Nail Fungus)
Onychomycosis is the fungal infection of the nails. Onychomycosis can occur in finger nails and toenails however it is more common in toenails.
- Nails appear yellowish in colour
- Nails have a brittle, crumbly, porous texture
- Nails may become thick
- In some cases the nail may lift up from the nail bed (Onycholysis)
- Pain is rare unless the condition is severe
Onychomycosis is mostly caused by dermatophytes (Fungus Parasitic). But yeasts and molds can also cause fungal nail infection.
Who can get Onychomycosis ?
Anyone can contract Onychomycosis.
- People who have a compromised immune system due to conditions such as diabetes, HIV
- Genetics - People with a family history of fungus infections
- People who are older are more susceptible
- Onychomycosis is more common in men than women
How can one contract Onychomycosis ?
Onychomycosis occurs in a warm and/or moist environment. The below may act as a catalyst.
- Poor foot hygiene
- Leaving feet wet/moist
- Tight, occlusive (closed) footwear
- Heavy perspiration
Besides being aesthetically unappealing, treatment of fungal infection is vital for people with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy (loss of feeling in feet). Delay in treatment could lead to further secondary bacterial infections.
- Wear footwear in communal places (Swimming pools, Gymnasiums, Lockers etc)
- Dry your feet thoroughly and in between the toes
- Change socks daily or even twice daily in case of excessive perspiration
- Wear socks made of natural fibre (cotton, wool)
- Wash / ventilate shoes
- Maintain good foot hygiene
Early intervention will ensure faster recovery time. Seek professional advice as soon as you notice any change in the appearance of the nails and skin of your feet.
Onychomycosis can be treated with the use of
- Topical antifungal creams and ointments
- Oral antifungals such as lamisil
- Patient may consider surgical removal of the nail plate