Reader's Digest Asia Pacific
Facts About Toenail Fungus
Learn more about this common condition
Onychomycosis, also known as toenail fungus, can be picked up by walking barefoot in hot, moist places such as showers and changing rooms or wearing wet shoes for long periods. Here are some things to know.
1 IT’S HARD TO IGNORE
Aesthetics are a common reason sufferers seek treatment. “People don’t like the way it looks,” says Brad Sonnema, a podiatrist. Fungus grows inside or under the nail, causing it to thicken, crumble or turn yellow.
2 AGE AND ILLNESS ARE RISK FACTORS
People with poor circulation or compromised immunity are at greater risk, as are older people. A damaged nail is more prone to developing fungus.
3 DIABETES CAN BE AN ADDED DANGER
Those with diabetes are twice as likely to have the condition. In these patients, misshapen toenails can irritate the skin, leading to infection. For most people, though, the fungus stays isolated to the nail and surrounding skin, and it rarely causes internal issues.
4 CONSIDER VARIOUS TREATMENTS
Discuss your options with your doctor: some think all onychomycosis infections should be addressed, while others consider treatment a patient’s choice. Some oral anti-fungal medications can negatively affect the liver. Topical treatments are safer and must be applied diligently, sometimes for months.