Diseases of The Nails
Have you ever noticed that one or many of your toenails seem different? Have you noticed thickening of the nail, detachment from the toe, pitting or ridging in the nail, maybe discolouration?
Changes in nails appearance can be due to many factors such as:
- Local nail changes such as acute or chronic trauma that might result nail loss, thickening or discolouration of the nails, or deformed growth
- Systemic health conditions like diabetes or cirrhosis.
- Infections such as fungal infections can alter the nails, leaving the nail thickened, discoloured, crumbly.
- Several skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema can cause the nails to pit, become brittle or discoloured.
Depending on the issue affection your nails some treatments might be possible. Chiropodists have a good understanding of factors and conditions that can affect the toenails. Through an assessment and history taking they will able to deduce what is causing the changes in your nail appearance.
What Causes Fungal Nails?
Adults are more prone to fungal nails than children. Nail fungus is seen more commonly in men compared to women. It is thought that this happens due to the nails growing thicker and slower as men get older. In addition, it can also be down to poor circulation.
But this is not to say that other people cannot get fungal nails. Indeed, there are some groups that are more susceptible than others. This can include the elderly, those with a weakened immune system and anyone that has a nail or skin injury. If you wear artificial nails on a regular basis or your feet are wet most of the time, this can also mean you could be at a higher risk of fungal nails. Good hygiene is going to be important.
Essentially, fungus is going to grow where there are warm and moist areas. This means that anywhere from your fingernails to toenails can be affected. When fungus causes problems with nails this is called onychomycosis or tinea unguium.
What are the Signs that I Have Fungal Nails?
There are some people that have fungal nails and it can be obvious just by looking at them. However, for others, there can be subtle changes to the toenails that you should look out for. Some signs that you may have fungal nails include having yellow or white streaks present on the toenail. In addition, there can be flaking white areas or an odour if the nail has become infected. If you start to lose your nail or it lifts off from the nail bed and you didn’t have an injury, this can also be a sign that you have a fungal nail.
What is the best Treatment for Fungal Nails?
Your local drugstore is likely to have a lot of over the counter products that claim to help fungal nails. While there are products that can provide some relief, a lot of them do not prevent it entirely. Instead, it is best if you arrange an appointment with your doctor if you think that you have fungal nails. They will be able to diagnose you and choose the best treatment. Often, this can be an oral antifungal medication or antifungal nail lacquer.
If you have had fungal nails, you are going to have to ensure that you follow proper hygiene in order to prevent this condition from returning. For example, we recommend using an anti-fungal spray on your feet on a regular basis. In addition, you should try to keep your toenails short and dry your feet after they become wet in the shower. Every day, you should wear a clean pair of socks and allow time for your feet to air out and dry.