Fungal Nails Infection occurs from the overgrowth of fungi under, or on the nail. Although not usually serious, it can be unpleasant and cause the nail to become discolored, thickened and distorted.
To give it its medical name, Distal Subungual Onychomycosis (DSO) is the most common type of fungal nail infection. DSO infects the skin under the end of the nail (nail bed) and in the nail. The nail may end up crumbling and splitting, and separate from the skin. The nail often turns yellow or brown.
Another type of fungal nail infection is White Superficial Onychomycosis (WSO). WSO can be seen in the top layer of the nail, initially forming white spots on the surface. After some time, the surface of the nail may become covered with a crumbly, chalky powder. However, the nail will not thicken and separate from the skin.
The funguses that cause fungal nail infection are highly contagious and grow and spread in moist, warm environments, such as communal swimming pools, showers or gyms.Not keeping your feet clean and dry, as well as wearing shoes that cause your feet to get hot and sweaty, can make it more likely that you get a fungal nail infection. If you have athlete’s foot, this can spread to the toenail and give you a fungal nail infection. Also, if you have a damaged toenail, this can increase the risk.
Although it is impossible to eliminate the risk of developing fungal nail infection, there are things you can do to reduce it. Wearing well-fitting shoes will allow your feet to “breathe” and reduce the possibility of warm, moist environments where the fungi can breed.
Some other things you can do include not sharing towels and socks with other people and ensuring your towels are washed regularly, not walking around barefoot in public pools, showers and locker rooms, and replacing old footwear that could be contaminated with fungi.Disinfecting your shoes regularly with a shoe spray is also recommended. If you have athlete’s foot, you should treat it as soon as possible to avoid the infection spreading to the nails (which there is a risk of).