Fungal nail infection (onychomycosis) is a common condition especially in the toenails. It usually affects adults and is more common in men than women.
Dermatophytes (a type of fungi) live harmlessly on the skin but multiplies and in dark, warm, moist environments can lead to infection. Some shoes can make the feet sweaty and hot which is the perfect environment for the fungi to multiply quickly.
Dramatic visual changes to a nail can be unsightly as the fungal infection can cause the nail change colour, can thicken and can break more easily. Pain can occur as more pressure is put on the end of toe. As the infection progresses, it can cause a very distinct odour.
There is an increased risk in infection if the feet are not kept clean and dry. Fungal residue builds up in socks and towels, so it is very important to ensure they are washed regularly and not shared with others. Wearing shoes made from natural materials and cotton socks will allow your feet to breathe.
Oral anti-fungal treatments can be prescribed if suitable for you. Fungal nails can take over 12 months to resolve so having a podiatrist prepare the nail surface prior to applying a topical anti-fungal treatment can increase the success.