Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus is certainly not a glamorous subject to talk about as it grosses out most people. But since it is one of the most common nail abnormalities that happen to many people, it is important that we know the basics about it. So, we’ve put together a brief containing all the information you need to understand what toenail fungus is. 

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As the name suggests, toenail fungus is an abnormality that affects toenails. In medical terms, toenail fungus is known by several other names, including ringworm of the toenail, onychomycosis, and dermatophytic onychomycosis. It is characterized or identified by discoloration and deformation caused in a toenail due to an infection. In severe cases where the infection goes unchecked and untreated for a prolonged time, it can even result in the deterioration of the toenail.

The people who most frequently get toenail fungus consist of diabetic and HIV patients. Besides that, ageing individuals are also more prone to getting an infected toenail that ends up in a fungus. One precaution we would like to make here is that toenail fungus is contagious, meaning that it can be transmitted from one person to another rather quickly.

In fact, different incidence studies have traced many cases to public places like shower stalls, public bathrooms, locker rooms and other unhygienic places. You want to make sure that if you see some unusual discoloration and deformity on or around your toenail with a bit of pain, get it checked out as soon as possible so it doesn’t get worse and spreads.

Types of Toenail Fungus

Moving on, let’s have a peek at the four main categories of fungus. These categories are designated based on the type and extent the fungal infection has spread.

Category 1 - Distal Subungal Onychomycosis

The first type of toenail fungus is the most common type and most widely known. It’s caused by a pathogen called trichophyton rubrum. The pathogen burrows into the nail bed and destroys the keratin ultimately infecting the nail plate..

Category 2 - Candida Onychomycosis

Also simply known as candida, this type of toenail fungal infection is also very common. This is usually caused when a person soaks their feet in water for an elongated period of time, mostly habitually.

Category 3 - Proximal Subungal Onychomycosis

This type of fungal infection is linked to tinea ungunium and is associated with a weak immunity system. It is called proximal subungal onychomycosis as the fungus first enters the proximal nail fold and then spreads into the nail plate and nail bed.

Category 4 - White Superficial Onychomycosis

The last type of toenail fungus is identified by the presence of white spots on the toenail. These ‘white islands’ are caused when the fungal infection eats away at the superficial layer under the toenail. Among the other 3 types of toenail fungus, this is one is less common and often confused with another condition called keratin granulation.

Hence, it is imperative that you make a trip to a doctor if you see even the slightest of change in your toenails. Excellence Medical and Skin Care Clinic provides skin care services in Edmonton, Sherwood park Alberta and can diagnose and treat toenail fungus. You can contact us here and to book an appointment.