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What Is Nail Fungus?

Toenail fungus is a very problematic condition that can cause both physical and emotional effects. It is a type of fungal infection, known medically as onychomycosis, that affects about half of all Americans by age 70. Fungi grow best in warm, moist environments, and they are easily spread from person to person. A infection occurs when fungal debris becomes trapped under the nail, often as the result of an injury to the nail. It can be contracted in damp areas, such as public gyms, showers, or pools. Athletes and people who wear tight fitting shoes or hosiery, which can irritate the nails and retain moisture around them, are at higher risk. Fungus can also be spread by sharing personal items such as nail clippers. Diabetics and people with other chronic conditions also have a higher risk of getting toenail fungus and the infection could lead to more serious problems.

As toenail fungus grows and spreads deeper into the nail, it can cause the nail to swell and become discolored–depending on the type of fungus, the color of the toenail can vary between brown, yellow or white. The fungus can also cause the nail to thicken and to crumble, and in some cases, it will cause the nail to completely detach. Toenail fungus also can be painful, causing irritation and burning in the infected area; sometimes, even wearing shoes becomes a painful ordeal for the person affected.

If left untreated fungal nail infections will not go away and may only get worse. Depending on the severity of the fungal infection there are a variety treatments available including topical medications, oral medications, or Dr. Berolo can provide fungal nail laser treatments here at Urban Podiatry. It’s important to remember that severe fungal infections may also include the surrounding skin, which would also need to be treated. In addition, shoes and other foot wear may also be harboring the fungal organism and may also require disinfection. If you suffer from ugly painful fungal nails schedule an appointment with Dr. Bertolo today to begin your comprehensive plan of care.

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