Nail Fungus – What is it?
Nail fungus is an extremely common condition affecting up to 10-12% of the Australian population. In medical terms we refer to the nail fungus as onychomycosis. It can affect the nails in a number of different ways:
- Nail Thickening
- Yellow discolouration across the nail
- Brittle and broken nails
- Nail separation from the nail bed
- Unsightly brown/yellow patches of nail
Nail Fungus – What causes it?
Fungal spores infiltrate underneath the nail and into the nail bed. The fungus within the nail can include dermatophytes, moulds and yeasts. The most common fungus is named Tricophytum Rubrum which is responsible for up to 80-90% of all fungal infections of the nail.
Nail Fungus – Have I got it?
At Emerald Lakes Podiatry we normally notice discoloured yellow/brown coloured nail. This discolouration is often seen in patches and streaks across the nail and often along the edge of the nail. At times we send off for a culture to check for infection although diagnosis is not always conclusive. It is usually quite easy for our experienced practitioners to spot an infection within the nail and proceed to treatment.
Nail Fungus – Protection
As nail fungus is an infection, we must look towards eliminating factors that lead to this infection.
- Being careful around public areas such as public pools and showers. Any area where other people may have been barefoot therefore increasing the likelihood of infection being present on the surface or within the water area.
- Removing shoes to allow feet to air where possible.
- Wearing breathable cotton socks with shoes to reduce heat therefore reducing the likelihood of hidden spores entering the toe nail.
- Avoiding nail bars where sterilisation of instruments and towels is not a part of the treatment
- It is recommended that attending a podiatrist for any foot/nail/skin disorder will reduce the likelihood of obtaining an infection compared with non-professional treatment.