Toenail fungus also called Onychomycosis is a common toenail condition that affects millions of people in the US. According to the American Academy of Dermatology it affects about 12% of the population. The infection of the toenails is a slowly progressive process damaging the nail to a greater and greater degree over time.
Because of the infective nature of this condition it is important to treat all elements that lead to infection. The most effective treatment for clearing toenail fungus and keeping it gone is a combination of the treatments described. Once the toenails have been cleared of the fungus it is important to be diligent to prevent re-infection. The use of antifungal sprays, powders and a shoe sterilizer are effective measures. Women who use nail polish should be aware of the damaging effects of most nail polish. There is nail polish available that is not damaging and may be a preventative measure to avoid fungal infection of the toenails.
The fungus that infects the toenails is the same type of fungus that causes athletes foot. Generally it starts at the tip of the toenail and works its way back into the toenail and nail bed. The fungus lives in the bed of the toenail and feeds on the keratin in the toenail. In the early stages of the infection it is primarily a cosmetic problem or concern but as the infection progresses the toenails continue to discolor, thicken and become painful. A foul odor often accompanies the infection. Ingrown toenails are a frequent consequence of fungal toenails.
Fungal toenails are not just a problem for athletes. The infection is contagious and can be acquired in any number of locations such as areas around public swimming pools, gyms and community showers. Sweaty feet can contribute to the initial infective process and contribute to its spread. Dry scaling skin of the feet is often associated with the infection indicating a chronic athletes foot condition.
Toenail fungus is an infective process and fungal elements that shed from the toenails inhabit your socks, shoes, bed sheets and showers. Although not considered highly contagious certain precautions are recommended. Successful treatment with long-term results is best obtained by addressing your immediate exposure and environment. A common sense approach includes drying your feet thoroughly following bathing, change your socks daily and more frequently if you have a problem with sweaty feet. Use a disinfectant at least weekly in the bathing area. There is no need to discard your shoes. We recommend a topical antifungal shoe spray or powder or the use of a shoe-sterilizer Steri-Shoe . The Steri-shoe is effective in eliminating microorganisms that cause toenail fungus, athletes foot and foot odor.
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