Toenail fungus is actually a fairly common nail condition, but we know it is still a source of tremendous embarrassment and self-consciousness for many people. Understanding the causes of the condition can help you prevent it from developing, whereas recognizing the symptoms will enable you to get the professional treatment you need for an existing fungal infection here at Advanced Foot and Ankle.
Toenail Fungus Causes
Fungi, molds, and yeasts known as dermatophytes cause fungal toenail conditions. These microscopic organisms can thrive in dark places and do not require sunlight to survive. The organisms usually reside in warm and damp environments, and they can enter the body through very tiny cuts and abrasions.
If the conditions are right, the dermatophytes can attach to unprotected feet and stick around. Since feet tend to be generally quite warm and damp from their hundreds of thousands of sweat glands, the conditions down there are ripe for a fungal infection.
With regard to the symptoms of fungal nail infections, the most evident ones are the appearance of infected toenails. The nails often appear to be dark, dull, and discolored. The darkened color and lack of a normal, healthy shine can be attributed to debris building up underneath the nail.
Affected toenails also tend to be brittle, thickened, and crumbly. In some cases, there might be a foul odor or an infected toenail will separate from its nailbed.