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Fungal Nails

Fungal Nails by David Webby


Fungal nail infections of the toenails are very common.
The same species of Fungus that causes Tinea or Athlete’s foot, Dermatophytes, are the most common species that cause fungal nail infections. 

Fungal infections can be picked up by walking barefoot in public changing rooms, pools, and showers.But they mostly spread from another site, such as tinea infection between the toes, or damp sweaty shoes. Studies have proved that fungus can live in carpet up to 2 years.

Fungus are micro-organisms that can get under the nail edge through trauma or a broken nail and grow by feeding on the keratin of the nail, causing it to become brittle.

What do they look like?

Fungal nail infections can be misdiagnosed with thickening of the nail, caused by trauma or short shoes.

Common signs and symptoms include;

White or yellow spots or streaks under the nail, often starting from the distal end of the nail and growing down towards the base. (A traumatized nail will show signs of bleeding, or a purple/dark bruise at the base of the nail which tends to grow out with the growth of the nail over 12 months. Sometimes one sees white patches on top of the nail if moisture has become trapped under nail polish.

brittle, crumbling nail edges;

Separation of the nail from the nail bed, or thickening of the nail may not be caused by a fungal infection, but from trauma from a shoe or incident causing lifting of the nail from the nail bed.

How can we help?

Correct diagnosis is important. No sense treating for a fungal nail when it is only blood under the nail. Of course there are other conditions such as a Melanoma that could be growing under the nail.

Sometimes we take a scraping or clipping of the infected nail to be sent for pathology laboratory testing. This also identifies the exact type of fungus involved, which helps guide treatment. Treatment may include medication, but it depends on drug interaction and the state of your current health. 

It is also important to spray inside your shoes and socks, with an anti-fungal spray, such as Solv Easy Tinea spray, which contains ‘Terbidafine’, a drug that kills the cell wall of the fungus.

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