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Fungal Nail Infection (Onychomychosis)

Fungal infection of the nails, also known as onychomycosis is an increasingly common condition. Especially with increased age and it rarely affects children.

 

Symptoms

Onychomycosis may affect one or more toenails and/ or fingernails and most often involves the great toenail or the little toenail. Its presentation generally consists the following: 

  • Thickened

  • Whitish to yellow-brown discoloration

  • Brittle, crumbly or ragged

  • Distorted in shape

  • A dark color, caused by debris (powder-like) building up under your nail

  • Smelling slightly foul

  • Lifting / gaps under nail

It can present in one or several different patterns.​

  • Superficial white onychomycosis — flaky white patches and pits appear on the top of the nail plate.

  • Distal Subungal Onychomycosis — yellow discolouration and lifting of the nail appears on the top half of the nail

  • Proximal onychomycosis — yellow discolouration appears on the bottom portion of the nail - near the half-moon structure (lunula).

  • Dystrophic Onychomycosis — Partial/complete destruction of the nail.

 

Risk Factors

  • Trauma to the nails

  • Existing tinea pedis [athlete's foot]

  • Immunocompromised conditions

  • Visiting pedicure (risk of cross-contamination)

  • Poor hygiene

  • Occlusive footwear

  • hyperhydrosis (sweaty feet) 

  • Warm, humid climate (fungus survives and proliferates in warm, humid and dark environment)

  • Family history ( risk of cross-contamination)

  • Communal baths

  • Poor blood circulation

  • Candida/ Yeast gut infection

Fungal nail or psoriatic nail?

​Both of this conditions may have very similar presenting features. It is very important to identify the correct condition, in order to treat it effectively.

​.
 

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Psoariatic nail

Fungal nail

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Can this be treated?

​YES, however fungal recovery phases are known to be a lengthy process. Therefore, do not lose hope. 

Fingernail infections are usually cured more quickly and effectively than toenail infections.

There are various treatment options available to treat onychomycosis. Treatment's effectiveness is also heavily dependent on the hygiene and aftercare compliance by the patient. 

Podiatrists are professionally trained to help, contact us for a consultation today! 

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