Mycotic Nail Infections
What are Mycotic Nail Infections?
Onychomycosis or mycotic nail infections are infections of the toenails caused due to fungus. There are three genera of dermatophytes that are responsible for fungal infections on the skin and nails:
- Trichophyton—T. rubrum is the most common fungus responsible for nail infections
According to research, mycotic nail infections are responsible for approximately 50% of all nail diseases experienced by patients in the United States.
What Are the Causes of Mycotic Nail Infections?
Mycotic nail infections are more prevalent in patients that are older. Other risk factors for developing mycotic nail infections include:
- poor blood circulation
- peripheral neuropathy
- viral infections
- wearing tight shoes made out of non-breathable materials
- walking barefoot in the wet communal shower or locker rooms
- nail trauma
- constant nail polish usage
- Athlete's foot
What Are the Common Symptoms of Mycotic Nail Infections?
Symptoms of mycotic nail infections include:
- yellowing of nails (can also be discolored brown or white)
- white discharge under the nail
- thickened nail
- nails with multiple cracks or prone to breakages
- a foul odor, especially if left untreated
- separation of the nail from the nail bed
- dull nails
What to Expect During Treatment for Mycotic Nail Infections at the Podiatrist
Proper and daily foot hygiene is key to preventing mycotic nail infections from forming. If you frequent the gym or swimming pool, make sure to wear flip flops or sandals while using the common bathrooms and showers, as fungi seek moist, damp environments to live and grow.
Patients with diabetes, poor blood circulation, or peripheral neuropathy should always seek out podiatric assistance when dealing with mycotic nail infections to prevent worsening of symptoms or further damage.
Treatment of mycotic nail infections often involves:
- topical or oral antifungal medications trimming of nail
- medicated nail polish
- laser therapy
- surgical removal of the infected nail—if symptoms are severe wearing properly fitted shoes with wide toe boxes
- moisture-wicking shoes