Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails. This ailment causes fingernails or toenails to thicken, discolor, disfigure, and split. At first glance, onychomycosis appears to be only a cosmetic concern. However, without treatment, the toenails can become abnormally thick forcing the toe to press against the inside of the shoes, causing pressure, irritation, and pain.
Generally, onychomycosis does not host any symptoms. Individuals seek treatment for cosmetic reasons - not because they are experiencing pain. However, if the disease continues to progress without treatment, onychomycosis may interfere with standing, walking, and exercising.
Onychomycosis is easily identified by its appearance. However, there are similar conditions and infections that can cause the nails to present a similar appearance to onychomycosis. Onychomycosis is generally established by laboratory tests before beginning treatment. Treatments for this condition can be long, expensive, and have associated health risks.
Risk factors making one more susceptible to onychomycosis include:
- Family history
- Advancing age
- Poor health
- Showering in communal showers—such as fitness clubs
- Wearing shoes doesn’t allow proper airflow
Treatment options vary by individual and severity of the ailment. Talk with your doctor about what treatments will work best for you.