Posts Tagged ‘What is toenail fungus’

What is toenail fungus?

Did you drop a heavy object on your toe? Perhaps you just sloughed off the pain — until your nail started growing back thick and and brown. Maybe you thought it would go away. Without knowing it, a fungus had begun to grow in the injured area impeding the layers of nail and infiltrating them. The toenail was growing thick and brown with fungus between the layers of the nail making it thick and coloring it tan.

The layer of tissue that grows new toenails was infected with the fungus “tinea unguium.” This is related to another common skin fungus usually called “athletes foot.” Both are fungus related to mold and mushrooms. How the fungus infects a person’s toe is subject to speculation, but frequently people report and foot injury, or a prior debilitating illness which may have lowered their resistance to infections of all sorts. Tight shoes which pinch the foot and keep the foot moist can add to the problem.

The toenail can grow very thick, but is fragile and breaks easily thus exposing the tender area of the toe to more injury. A vicious cycle can ensue which makes the problem worse.

Treatment is on several levels at once. The person should keep the foot free of shoes and dry. Topical treatment available from the local drug store should be applied to the toenail focusing on the nail bed –the area the toenail grows from. Tea Tree Oil and Grapefruit Seed oil are also reputed to clear nail fungus. If shoes are necessary, us an open toe if possible. If close toed shoes are needed, wear cotton socks when possible as synthetics made the feet sweat more. Dampness feeds the fungus. If these over the counter treatments fail to work, consult your physician for stronger treatment.