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Onychomycosis, or toenail fungus is a fungal infection that commonly affects the toenails or fingernails. This fungal infection is seen more often in the toenails than the fingernail. There are a few symptoms and signs that will clearly indicate the presence of a toenail fungus infection.
Common symptoms include, but are not limited to; discolouration (mostly white or yellowing), brittle, thick, lifted from the toe, crumbly and sometimes curled up or down or are distorted in shape. Certain symptoms may also cause the sufferer some degree of pain depending on the severity of the infection.
Anybody, no matter what their sex or age is can contract a fungal infection that affect the toe nails. However, studies have shown that the symptoms of toenail fungus infections are most common in people over 60 years of age. It is also known that individuals that suffer from circulatory or respiratory diseases have a higher risk of developing this condition. Diabetes is another common condition that is associated with toenail fungus.
Many times it’s difficult to determine exactly what causes a toenail fungus infection. Sometimes its even difficult to even notice that an infection is present. If you suspect that you have a toenail fungus, you should visit your physician for a diagnosis. Your doctor will be able to identify the exact infection you have and recommend the proper treatment and medication.
Fortunately, there are a variety of medications and remedies available to treat a toenail fungus infection. The oral medications that are available work by promoting new nail growth that will replace the old, infected nail with a healthy new nail. These medications usually have to be taken for 6-12 weeks to cure the condition.
It is recommended that individuals with a history of heart or liver conditions steer clear of these medications. Certain types of toenail fungus infections can be treated using topical treatments like steroid creams. However, using the creams exclusively isn’t enough to cure the majority of infections that occur.
Taking steps to prevent a toenail fungus from developing is always recommended. There are a few things can be done to keep the nails healthy and prevent the development of a fungal infection. First of all, shoes with pointy toes should always be avoided. Wear 100% cotton socks that are always clean and dry with shoes that offer good support to the foot. When choosing shoes, make sure there is plenty of room for the toes.
A final piece of advice that will help keeping your toenails in good conditions is keeping them maintained at a short length. This helps to reduce trauma to the nail from banging against hard objects or the insides of your shoes while walking.