around and you are likely to see a man or woman with fingernails or toenails that are thickened and have a dark brown colour.
Such nails often have a squashed, raised, clumpy profile rather than the smooth, nice convex shape of the normal nail, cherished by everybody. This disfigurement of the nail is caused by nail fungus.
Nail fungus is a common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of the fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause the nail to discolour, thicken and crumble at the edge. The infection can affect several nails.
If condition is mild and not bothering you, you may not need treatment. If your nail fungus is painful and has caused thickened nails, self-care steps and medications may help. But even if treatment is successful, nail fungus often comes back.
Nail fungus condition is known by the medical name, onychomycosis (pronounced as on-ih-koh-my-KOH-sis). When fungus infects the areas between the toes and the skin of the feet, it’s called athlete’s foot (tinea pedis).
You may have nail fungus if one or more of your nails are: thickened, whitish to yellow-brown discolouration, brittle, crumbly or ragged’ The other manifestation of nail fungus infection include distorted shape, a dark color, caused by debris building up under nail and a slightly foul smell oozing from the toenail.
Fungal nail infections are caused by various fungal organisms (fungi). The most common cause is a type of fungus called dermatophyte. Yeast and molds can also cause nail infections.
Fungal nail infection can develop in people at any age, but it’s more common in older adults. As the nail ages, it can become brittle and dry. The resulting cracks in the nails allow fungi to enter. Other factors — such as reduced blood circulation to the feet and a weakened immune system — also may play a role.
Fingernail fungal infection can also result from prolonged exposure of the fingers to detergents and certain soaps, particularly in the case of mothers who wash heaps of their family’s clothes without the protection of gloves over a prolonged of time.
Toenail fungal infection can start from athlete’s foot (foot fungus), and it can spread from one nail to another. But it is uncommon to get an infection from someone else.
You may want to see a physician if self-care steps haven’t helped and the nail becomes increasingly discolored, thickened or deformed. Also see a doctor if you have diabetes and think you’re developing nail fungus.