Toe nail fungus > What is toenail fungus?

What is toenail fungus?

What is toenail fungus?Toe nail fungus (Onychomycosis) is a relatively common condition that disfigures and sometimes even destroys the nail. Toe nail fungus can be caused by several different types of fungi. These fungi thrive in a dark, warm and moist environments (shoes, showers). As they grow, they feed on the protein that makes up the hard surface of the toenails. Resuming: onychomycosis is caused by a fungus that digests keratin, the protective outer layer of nails, skin and hair.

About 1/4 of all people worldwide suffer from toe nail fungus. In the United States it affects about 1 out of every 20 persons. It is rare in children. The risk of being affected by nail fungus is getting higher by age, older people are more likely to get toe nail fungus. At age 70 toe nail fungus affects almost half of all Americans.

According to a report of a study conducted between 1985 and 1994 on onychomycosis observed in the city of Rome in Italy 26.3% of the observed 6.688 people were affected by fungal nail infections. Thirty eight patients (2.3%) had onychomycosis of both their hands and feet. More information on this toenail fungus report.

Nail fungus infections can affect the fingernails as well as the toenails, but toenail fungus is harder to treat because toenails grow more slowly. Toenail fungus occurs most often on the big or small toe.

People wearing tight fitting shoes have an increased risk of developing toenail fungus, as well as people that visit showers in places used by a lot of other people (in gyms, saunas, etc.). Also practicing poor foot hygiene is a risk factor.

If you suspect that you have toenail fungus, you should seek professional treatment. You are advised to see your (foot) doctor for diagnosis and treatment.