Onychomycosis, a fungal nail infection, can be caused by a variety of things but it is fairly easy to identify, as it will significantly change the visual appearance of the nail. A fungal nail infection will cause discoloring of the nail, a loss of shine or luster in the nail, nails becoming brittle, or nails detaching from the nail bed. A fungal nail infection can result in a permanent change in the shape of the nail. The fungus can start as a small, discolored spot under the nail and further deteriorate the nail’s strength and shape. These fungal spots are typically black or white. The nail may begin pulling away from the nail bed with the fungus in between. The nail will also begin to break easily or even crumble. The shape of the nail will no longer be the smooth arch that you typically can feel on a healthy nail, but will develop deep ridges. Nail fungi can affect one or all of the nails on a single appendage and continue its spread throughout the body. Onychomycosis treatment can take a considerable amount of time.
Onychomycosis is a fungal infection. Even a small fungal infection can continue to spread and affect other parts of the body and should be assessed by a medical practitioner in order to gain proper treatment to avoid the spread. Onychomycosis develops primarily due to nails being in a warm, moist environment such as a locker room or in sweaty shoes. Fungus can also develop when the nail is weakened due to cuts in the nail or a separation between the nail and the nail bed. Older people and people with weakened immune systems, such as those with diabetes are more susceptible to the spread of fungus and should see a doctor as soon as the fungus is detected, as permanent damage to the nail and nail bed can be caused by the fungus. Some home remedies may help ease the unpleasantness of the fungus by soaking the nails in: Listerene, vinegar, Vicks Vapor Rub or Tea Tree Oil. There are prescription antifungal medications that your doctor may prescribe as well to ensure that the fungus is eradicated. In some cases doctors do recommend removal of the infected nail in order to prevent the spread of the fungus to other parts of the body.
If you have a nail that you think may have onychomycosis, check your possibly infected nail against your others to determine the color and shape that your nails typically have. If the coloring is off, your nails have become cloudy and yellowed or with black and white spots, a fungal infection may already have begun. If your nails are brittle and misshapen, or separating themselves from the skin on which they typically rest, it is very likely that you are suffering from onychomicosis and should see a medical practitioner to determine the next step in regaining healthy nails.