Toenail fungus is an infection usually caused by a microscopic organism called dermatophyte fungus. These infections can be contagious, and they’re often difficult to eliminate completely. Fortunately, for most healthy adults toenail fungus doesn’t pose any serious health risks.
Toenail fungus is a common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your toenail. As the infection goes deeper, it may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge.
Fungal infections are more likely to happen in your toenails than in your fingernails because toenails often are confined in a dark, warm, moist environment — inside your shoes — where fungi can thrive. Toes also have less blood flow than fingers, making it harder for your body’s immune system to detect and stop the infection.
Get Rid of Toenail Fungus with Effective Home Remedies
The older you are, the more likely you are to get toenail fungus. That’s because as you age, your immune system changes. In addition, your nails become more brittle and drier over time, creating more cracks where fungus can live.
Toenails are made up of multiple layers stacked on top of each other. Toenail fungus can be tough to get rid of because it can get into and in between those layers. It may also sit on top of the nail or grow underneath it. In some cases, fungus can get into the cells that make the nail, called the nail matrix. That can make the fungus very difficult to eliminate because the cells manufacturing the rest of the toenail are infected.
The good news, though, is that toenail fungus typically does not lead to bigger medical problems. With that in mind, I generally encourage healthy adult patients with mild toenail fungus to not treat it, or to treat it just using topical measures. For example, you can buff the nail down with a file to keep it thin, so the fungus has a less of a home to live in. You should also keep the nail trimmed. If you let your toenails grow long, it creates more places for the fungus to grow. Source chicagotribune
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