The toenail fungal infection is more common than you think, being present in people from all over the globe. You might believe that you know all there is to be known about this condition, but, in reality, there are a lot of interesting facts you have yet to discover. We have taken the time to gather the most important ones, so that you get at the root of the matter.
#1 Toenail fungus makes a home in the nail, without going too far
Just because you have been diagnosed with a toenail fungal infection, this does not mean you have fungi all over your body. In fact, you might want to know that toenail fungus prefers to stay local, affecting only the nail plate and, sometimes, the nail bed.
#2 There is always the risk of the infection spreading
While toenail fungus has a tendency of staying local, this does not mean it cannot spread to other toenails and even to the surrounding tissues. In reality, many of the athlete’s foot cases have started from a toenail fungal infection. Moreover, if your underwear touches any of the infected toenails, you stand a high risk of developing a fungal infection in the genital area. This is known as the jock itch and it requires anti-fungal treatment as well. In order to reduce the risk of developing such a condition, you might want to put your socks first.
#3 Toenail fungal infections are more common in older people
You might not be aware of this but, the older you get, the more susceptible you are to developing such kind of infections. This might be related to a weakening in the immune system but precarious hygiene habits are to be incriminated, as well as the wearing of old, worn-out shoes.
#4 This is one of the most contagious conditions out there
Many people fail to disregard the fact that the toenail fungal infection is highly contagious. For this reason, it is recommended to avoid sharing objects of personal hygiene with other people, especially towels. If you visit public pools or gym locker rooms, always wear flip flops, in order to reduce the risk of contracting such an infection.
#5 Nail injuries lead to fungal infections
Even the simple act of stubbing your toe in a door can create a favorable opening for the toenail fungus. This is also common in people who wear tight-fitting footwear, with the toenails being under constant pressure and prone to injuries. A nail injury not only does it create an entry point for the fungus but it also favor its development within the nail plate. This is why it is recommended to pay attention to the early signs of such infections, visiting the dermatologist for proper treatment.
#6 There are three primary organisms involved in the appearance of toenail fungal infections
According to the specialists in the field, toenail fungal infections can be caused by either one of these three microorganisms: candida, dermatophytic fungi and non-dermatophytic mold. Upon suspecting the diagnosis of toenail fungal infection, the doctor will scrape the respective nail and send the sample to laboratory for analysis. Based on the identification of the responsible microorganism, suitable treatment can be recommended.
#7 The toenail fungal infection can be an occupational hazard
If you work in a wet or damp environment, you stand a higher chance of developing a toenail fungal infection. This is especially valid if your feet get wet or damp, as there is nothing that fungus loves more, than a moist environment (it thrives in dark and moist places, such as in-between the toes). Always wear protective equipment and avoid getting your feet wet, as this is one of the best ways to keep the risk of fungal infections down to a minimum.
#8 Nail polish makes toenail fungal infections worse
Women who suffer from toenail fungal infections have a tendency to cover their nails, with the help of nail polish. However, this is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make, as it will trap the fungus under the polish and make the condition harder to treat. The only situation, in which polish is acceptable, is when it is recommended by the dermatologist (anti-fungal nail polish).
#9 Men are more often diagnosed with toenail fungal infections than women
Yes, it is true. The toenail fungal infection is more common in men than women. This has nothing to do with genetics but rather with a number of factors, which make men susceptible to such kinds of infections. For example, men wear tight-fitting shoes and socks more often than women. They also walk barefoot in public places, such as gyms, swimming pools and locker rooms; moreover, they often share objects of personal hygiene with others.
#10 Fingernails are less often affected by fungal infections in comparison to toenails
Talk to any dermatologist and he/she would be happy to talk about fungal infections and how they are more often diagnosed at the level of the toenails. This is because toenails are more susceptible to such infections, as they spend more time covered, with socks and various kinds of footwear. This makes up for a dark and moist environment, in which the fungus can naturally thrive and develop. On the other hand, fingernails are often out in the open air, being more frequently washed and cared for.
Word of advice
As you have seen, there are still a lot of things about toenail fungus, which you probably didn’t know. The most important thing to remember is that such infections are highly contagious, being easily transmitted from one person to the other (direct contact with the infected area). They are also transmitted through objects of personal hygiene, such as towels, not to mention they can be contracted from the floors of public places, such as swimming pools, locker rooms and gyms. Always pay attention to the shoes you are wearing, throwing old or worn-out shoes; avoid walking barefoot in public places and maintain excellent footwear hygiene, in order to keep such kinds of infection at a safe distance.
As an athlete, John has suffered from plantar fasciitis and toenail fungus multiple times throughout his life. Having picked up some extensive knowledge on dealing with these and other foot health conditions, John has decided to bring more transparency and knowledge to the ofter considered un-popular niche of foot health.