About Fungal Nails

Fungal Nails (toenail/foot fungus): Causes, Risk Factors and Treatments

Toenail Fungus Adelaide
Onychomycosis Adelaide

What is Onychomycosis?

Onychomycosis – or fungal nail infection – is an infection caused by fungus in the nail or nail bed. The condition may cause the nail to change colour to white streaks, to a yellow and eventually to a brown in severe cases. Also, the nail may thicken and separate from the nail bed. Onychomycosis can also affect fingernails.

Fungal nail infections affect 2-14% of the general population with that figure rising to 20% in 60 yr olds and 50% of the population over 70 yrs old. Find out more about our fungal nail treatments.

Individuals can feel embarrassed and ashamed to have thickness and discolouration to their nails. Most people will try to cover up their nails with footwear or nail polish. Unfortunately, in the case of nail polish, this provides the perfect environment to thrive as it is dark and moist. Like mushrooms which are fungus, the fungus in the feet, called Dermatophytes thrive in warm, dark, moist areas, which is why feet, shoes and socks are the perfect climate for them. Normally they live harmlessly on the skin. In a fungal infection these dermatophytes multiply uncontrollably. In fungal infections of the nail and skin the main dermatophytes involved are Trichophyton Rubrum and Trichophyton Interdigitale. Luckily, Adelaide Fungal Nail Laser Clinic is here to help.

What Causes Fungal Infections and Risk Factors?

What greatly increases the likelihood of gaining onychomycosis:
Nail trauma - direct trauma such as stubbing your toe, or repetitive trauma such as footwear rubbing on your toes
More common in men than women
Sweaty feet
Poor hygiene
The older you are the greater the likelihood
Pedicures and manicures at establishments that do not sterilise their instruments
Compromised immune system (Diabetes, poor circulation, HIV infection and immunosuppression.)
Ongoing use of occlusive footwear (sneakers or work boots with steel or composite cap boots)
Working in a wet environment or participating in water sport
Prolonged nail polish use

What Causes Fungal Nails?

There are four causes of fungal nails:

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Conditions that might look like a fungal nail infection

  • A traumatised nail can appear discoloured and thickened, which can appear the same as a fungal nail
  • Psoriatic nail
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Lichen Planus
Onychomycosis Nail Infection Adelaide