One of the conditions a foot doctor deals with is toenail fungus. This condition, like the name suggests, affects the toenails. It occurs when fungi get between your toenail and the tissue under your toenail. The fungi penetrate your body through a cut or crack in the toe. Here's some basic information about nail fungus.
What Causes Nail Fungus?
A fungal nail infection can be attributed to a type of fungus known as dermatophyte. Molds and yeast also cause nail infections. These infections are common in older adults.
As your nail ages, it becomes dry and brittle. The cracks that form in your nails are the entry points for fungi. Other factors that contribute to nail fungus include a weak immune system and low blood circulation. It's advisable for the elderly to see a foot doctor if they experience any pain in the toenail as this could be nail fungus.
What Are the Kinds of Nail Fungus?
There are many types of nail fungus. Knowing some common types will improve your chances of treating an infection before it spreads. The common kinds of nail fungus are distal subungual infection, white superficial infection, and proximal subungual infection.
Distal subungual infection is a common fungal nail infection that affects your toenails and fingernails. If you're infected, the edge of your nail will have white or yellow streaks. The infection spreads to your nail bed and under your nail.
A white superficial infection attacks the top part of the nail and forms white spots on the infected nail. These white spots will cover the whole nail, making it rough and likely to fall off. With a proximal subungual infection, you'll see yellow spots underneath your nail. This infection mainly affects people with low immune systems and can be caused by a minor injury to your nail.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Nail Fungus?
Nail fungus can be eradicated if it's caught early. You should inspect your nail every day because toenail fungus can exist for long without causing any symptoms. One of the things to look for when examining your nails is discoloration or darkening of the affected nail. You should also be alarmed if your nail begins to separate from the nail bed.
You should also be aware of discolored or white spots that aren't caused by an injury. Thickening or distortion of your toenail, unusual yellow or white streaks in your toenail, redness, and swelling, and crumbling on the edges of the nail are other tell-tale signs. If you notice any signs of nail fungus, you should consult a podiatrist immediately for a good chance to save your toenail.