Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a condition in which a microscopic fungus enters a toenail or a fingernail. Fungal infections affect toenails more than the fingernails. Although anyone can have nail fungus, the infections are more common to elderly people or those who are diabetic or people with a weakened immune system.
Causes of Nail Fungus
Nail fungus happens when a fungus enters the nail through a small cut near it and this can be transferred from one person to another. It’s hard to know exactly where and when a fungus can be gotten. But it is known that a dark, warm and moist place is a good place for a fungus to grow and multiply.
Symptoms of Nail Fungus
A nail fungus infection may cause the toenail to thicken and color may change to yellow, brown or black. It also causes the nail to become brittle, cracked and jagged.
How is Nail Fungus Diagnosed?
The doctor can look carefully at your nails so that he may be able to know if you got fungal infection. In some cases, he may scrape some tissue under your nail and examine it under the microscope or send it to a laboratory so that they can determine what kind of infection you have.
How to Treat Nail Fungus
Topical creams or oral medications can be used to treat your nail fungus. But some say that topical antifungal drugs is less effective that it can’t cure the infection. There are also rare cases that surgery may be required. The removal of the infected nail can be performed so that it allows direct application of a topical anti fungal drugs. Oral drugs like terbinfine is said to cure 50% of nail fungus cases. Toenail fungal infection is harder to treat than fingernail infections since the toenail grows slower and the damp, warm environment of a shoe can encourage more fungal growth.
How to Prevent Getting Nail Fungus
You can prevent getting toenail fungus through the following:
Do not walk barefooted in public areas like in shower rooms.
Keep your shoes always dry and use 100% cotton socks and change them frequently.
Do not wear ill-fitting shoes.
Use antifungal powder and spray for your shoes and feet.
Ingrown toenail is when a corner or side of the nail grows into the skin of the toe. This condition usually occurs in the big toe and this causes pain, swelling and redness. In some cases this can also cause infection.
Causes of Ingrown Toenails
The way you cut your toenails can cause ingrown toenail like if it is cut too short or not cut straight across. Also injury of the toenail and wearing ill-fitting shoes that crowd the toenails can also cause ingrown toenail.
Treatment of Ingrown Toenails
For mild cases of ingrown toenail, you can treat it by soaking in warm water for 15-20 minutes. You can put dry cotton under the corner of your nail later. Consult your doctor at once if you experience an increased pain, swelling and drainage of the area. Your doctor can perform minor surgery to remove the part of the nail that is poked into the skin.
Prevention of Ingrown Toenails
You can prevent ingrown toenails through the following:
Wear a pair of shoes that perfectly fits your feet.
Keep the length of your toenails at a moderate length and trim the straight across.
Nail fungus and ingrown toenails are similar in a way but also different at the same time. It is imperative that you know their differences so that you don’t mistake one for the other. This will be very important in order for you to be able to apply the right treatment for the infection you have.