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What on Earth are Fungus Nails?

Aug 17, 2007
Fungus nails are extremely unsightly and they can be really difficult to treat. Caused by Microscopic organisms, the condition usually starts at the far end of the nail and if left untreated, it can continue to eat away at the rest of the nail. So what exactly causes it and how can it be prevented?

The Cause and Symptoms of Fungus Nails:
Fungus nails are caused by Microscopic organisms which are otherwise known as Dermatophytes. These organisms grow in the bed of the nail and they live off keratin which is basically the protein within the nail. If left untreated and it reaches the base of the nail, the fungus will attack the nail root and that could cause the nail to grow extremely thick and deformed. Usually the big toe is affected first, though it quickly spreads to other nails next to it. Although it is rare, in some cases the fungus can also affect the skin around the nails.

In the very early stages of the condition, you may notice little white or yellow patches of discoloration on the nail. It is also common for yellow horizontal streaks to run through the nail. If left untreated, as mentioned the nail will grow back extra thick and it will also be deformed. You may notice a really foul odor too and the nail may split or crumble.

If the condition is particularly severe, inflammation could occur from an in growing toenail which can result in a secondary infection. You may notice that the conditions tops you from enjoying everyday activities as the nail often rubs against shoes, making it difficult to walk properly due to the discomfort.

Sometimes the only thing left to do if the condition has been left for long periods of time is for the nail to be removed so that a new, healthy one can grow again.

Dermatophytes thrive in warm, moist areas and so sweaty socks and feet will really not help. The condition has a higher chance of affecting people with lower immunity to diseases than others. These can include people with HIV, Diabetes and people with general poor circulation.

Overall the fungus is mainly found on most people, but it usually presents a problem if it invades the skin. This may occur due to injury to the nail, an in growing toenail or even something as simple as inappropriate nail cutting.

People with this condition generally feel really self conscious and they will not allow anybody else to see the nail. Sandals will be avoided and they could become depressed. Luckily, there are ways to treat this condition; you just have to find the right one for you.

Treating Fungus Nails:

There are a number of thing which you can do in order to treat Fungus Nails. Anti fungal powders may help, as might cotton socks which are able to absorb perspiration.

A Chiropodist is really the best person to see in order to find the right diagnosis and treatment for you. They will be able to give you early diagnosis as well as maybe running a few laboratory tests to determine exactly which type of fungus it is which you have. Once they have discovered what type of fungus you have, they can then work out which treatment is better for you.

They may suggest a nail lacquer or the nail may be trimmed by a specially designed nail grinder. If there is a secondary in growing toenail, surgery may be required in order to remove it.

Overall it is possible that with the right treatment by a Chiropodist, the condition could be cleared up in around 9 to 12 months.
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