What is Nail Fungus? | Minneapolis & St Paul

Have you ever been told during a pedicure that you may have nail fungus? Maybe the nail tech notices some discoloration and they ask you to monitor it. If that discoloration doesn’t grow out with the nail and it gets worse you may have a nail fungus. I have been in the situation where a nail tech mentioned something she saw on my toe nails. It is a little alarming to be told you may have a nail fungus. The nail tech asked me if I had had recently stubbed my toe. In that case I had stubbed my toe and the trauma to my nail had left a mark. I would notice that as the nail grew, the spot on my nail would go away. If this is not the case, have the nails checked out right away. The longer you let nail fungus go, the harder it will be to cure.

There are actually for classic types of nail fungus, medically known as onychomycosis. The most common form is distal subungual onychomycosis which invades the nail bed and the underside of the nail plate. The next type is called white superficial onychomycosis (WSO) is caused by a fungal invasion of the superficial layers of the nail plate and forms “white islands” on the plate. It accounts for only 10% of the onychomycosis cases. Sometimes keratin granulations, which are a reaction to nail polish, can cause the nails to turn a chalky white. WSO can be a misdiagnosis of keratin granulations. A lab test should be performed to confirm.

The third type is proximal subungual onychomycosis which is a fungal penetration of the newly formed nail plate through the proximal nail fold. It is least common in healthy people, but is found more commonly when the person is immunocompromised. Last but not least is candidal onychomycosis. This is a species invasion of the fingernails which usually occurs in persons who frequently immerse their hands in water. It normally requires prior damage of the nail by infection or trauma. I know hair stylists and nail techs that have been diagnosed with this type of fungus.

You are probably asking the question, what am I looking for? A nail fungus infection may begin as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As it spreads deeper into your nail, it may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and develop crumbling edges. It is usually not painful, just unsightly. Once a nail fungal infection begins, if not treated, it can persist indefinitely.

Fungus lives in warm, moist environments which include swimming pools and showers. It can invade your skin through tiny cuts both visible and invisible or through a small separation between your nail and nail bed. When your nails are continually exposed to warmth and moisture it is the perfect condition for fungi to grow and spread. Nail fungus occurs more in toenails than fingernails because the toenails are often confined in a dark, warm moist environment where fungus can thrive. Next we will focus on treatments for nail fungus and how to maintain healthy nails.

Nail Fungus – What is it? | Minneapolis & St Paul

Have you ever been told during a pedicure that you may have nail fungus? Maybe the nail tech notices some discoloration and they ask you to monitor it. If that discoloration doesn’t grow out with the nail and it gets worse you may have a nail fungus. I have been in the situation where a nail tech mentioned something she saw on my toe nails. It is a little alarming to be told you may have a nail fungus. The nail tech asked me if I had had recently stubbed my toe. In that case I had stubbed my toe and the trauma to my nail had left a mark. I would notice that as the nail grew, the spot on my nail would go away. If this is not the case, have the nails checked out right away. The longer you let nail fungus go, the harder it will be to cure.

There are actually for classic types of nail fungus, medically known as onychomycosis. The most common form is distal subungual onychomycosis which invades the nail bed and the underside of the nail plate. The next type is called white superficial onychomycosis (WSO) is caused by a fungal invasion of the superficial layers of the nail plate and forms “white islands” on the plate. It accounts for only 10% of the onychomycosis cases. Sometimes keratin granulations, which are a reaction to nail polish, can cause the nails to turn a chalky white. WSO can be a misdiagnosis of keratin granulations. A lab test should be performed to confirm.

The third type is proximal subungual onychomycosis which is a fungal penetration of the newly formed nail plate through the proximal nail fold. It is least common in healthy people, but is found more commonly when the person is immunocompromised. Last but not least is candidal onychomycosis. This is a species invasion of the fingernails which usually occurs in persons who frequently immerse their hands in water. It normally requires prior damage of the nail by infection or trauma. I know hair stylists and nail techs that have been diagnosed with this type of fungus.

You are probably asking the question, what am I looking for? A nail fungus infection may begin as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As it spreads deeper into your nail, it may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and develop crumbling edges. It is usually not painful, just unsightly. Once a nail fungal infection begins, if not treated, it can persist indefinitely.

Fungus lives in warm, moist environments which include swimming pools and showers. It can invade your skin through tiny cuts both visible and invisible or through a small separation between your nail and nail bed. When your nails are continually exposed to warmth and moisture it is the perfect condition for fungi to grow and spread. nail fungus occurs more in toenails than fingernails because the toenails are often confined in a dark, warm moist environment where fungus can thrive. Next we will focus on treatments for nail fungus and how to maintain healthy nails.

Common Mistakes Minnesota People Make With Toenail Fungus

You probably have toenail fungus if you notice that your toenails become whited, yellowed and thickened. As the disease advances, they become brittle and crumble around the edges. Untreated toenail fungus often causes the nail to separate from the nail bed. In some cases, the thickened nail is so deformed that it causes pain and infection like an ingrown toenail. Serious complications are uncommon.

There are several common mistakes that people in Minnesota make with toenail fungus.

1. Thinking that nail fungus will go away by itself.
People often mistakenly think that a nail fungus infection will go away on its own. Actually, nail fungus is usually a chronic disease that slowly progresses to involve more of the nails. Promptly seeking medical care is the best way to get rid of nail fungus.

2. Painting over the discolored toenails.
My daughter spends many hours to paint her fingernails and toenails in a variety of styles. Luckily, she doesn’t have nail fungus. But it is not a good idea if people in Minnesota simply try to cover up their nail fungus with nail polish. You may not know that nail polish may trap fungus and allow it to grow.

3. Covering up too much
Fungus loves moist environments. One mistake people in Minnesota make is covering their feet constantly, which prevent the feet from breathing, and therefore causing more infection. Let the feet breathe in open-toe shoes when you are at home. In the meantime, you should avoid walking in bare feet whenever you are in public areas to avoid spreading the fungus to others.

4. Digging and picking at the infected toenails.
Just like people try to fix everything at their home by themselves, some people try to file away at the crumbly edges or dig under the nail plate in an attempt to scrape away the fungus. Quite the contrary, this activity increases the chance to spread the fungus to others toenails. It is important that you avoid sharing clippers with anyone else at house.

5. Use topical creams only.
OTC topical creams appeal to people in Minnesota because they can be purchased without prescription and they are relatively cheap. However, topical creams do not work as well as oral medicine or laser treatments in curing fungal nail infections. 10% efficiency with topical creams compare to 90% efficiency with laser treatments. The efficiency of oral medication is in between topical creams and laser treatments, but it can potentially damage the liver.

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