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Toenail Fungus

Toenail Fungus

Fungi (the plural of fungus) are tiny, microscopic organisms that cause a fungal nail infection. Nail fungus is a common infection of the nail that begins as a white or yellow-brown spot under the tip of the fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection goes deeper, the nail may discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge. Nail fungus can affect several nails.

How do you pick up the fungi? Often, it’s through skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a fungal infection, or by walking barefoot in a warm, moist area such as a pool deck or locker room. You can even get a fungal nail infection by sharing an infected nail clipper or towel. You can also get it if your nails are frequently moist or you often wear sweaty socks and shoes.

When fungus infects the areas between your toes and the skin of your feet, it’s called athlete’s foot (tinea pedis). Athlete’s foot commonly occurs in people whose feet have become very sweaty, while within tight-fitting shoes. Symptoms of athlete’s foot include a scaly rash that usually causes itching, stinging and burning.

The Treatment

When nail fungus is painful and has caused thickened nails, The Art of Skin Dermatology can help alleviate the condition with medical skincare services such as:

  • Topical treatments
  • Oral medications


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Fungal Infections

Fungal infections can occur anywhere in your body but they typically begin on your skin. Most cause some discomfort, such as redness and intense itching. Ringworm is a common skin infection caused by a fungus. The rash often has a ring-shaped pattern and a raised, scaly border. While ringworm can appear on just about any part of your body, the rash lacks the ring-shaped pattern on the palms, soles, scalp, groin and nails.

According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, ringworm is common. You’ve already had it if you had athlete’s foot, jock itch or scalp ringworm.

No matter where ringworm appears, treatment is important. Without it, the rash tends to grow slowly and cover a larger area. You can also infect other areas of your body, as well as other people since ringworm is contagious.

Nail Conditions

Nail conditions can include distortion and/or discoloration of the normal nail plate on the fingernails and toenails. Washboard nails appear as grooves and ridges in the center of your thumb; thin, spoon-shaped nails dip down in the middle and look like spoons; and pitted nails with dents look like they were made by an icepick.

Discoloration can include a new or changing dark streak, which could be melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. However, not every dark streak is a melanoma. Nail fungus, an infection of the nail, can also cause discoloration. It begins as a white or yellow-brown spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail, and may include debris under the nail and thickening nails.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fungal nail infections are very common and may affect up to 14% of the U.S. population; fungal toenail infections are more common than fungal fingernail infections.

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