Toe nail discolouration is also called onychomycosis, toenail tinea, tinea unguium, toenail ringworm or toenail fungi. This condition disfigures the affected nail or even destroys it completely.
Skin discolouration is caused by many fungi types. These include dermatophytes, yeasts and molds. The dermatophytes include trichophyton and trichophyton rubrum. All of these fungi types thrive well in dark and moist places. Cramped areas like inside the shoes at the toes area might also pose as ideal breeding grounds (another reason for getting better shoes!). The fungi first eat up keratin which is the major protein that makes up our nails. Keratin also ensures that the nails stay as strong. The small and big toe nails tend to be more likely to get infected. This is because they are more exposed to friction with the shoes unlike the other middle toes.
The affected nail would normally turn yellow and abnormally thick. The nail also gets so much over grown. You will also notice that some debris tends to build up on the tips of the nails and many a times they would produce some unpleasant smell. As the infection gets worse, the toenail can even fall off. When the nails become yellowish and subsequently thick, they tend to crump in the shoes thus making the foot uncomfortable in the shoes.
The toenail apart from turning yellow or brown, it can also turn white. This condition is called the white superficial onychomycosis. In this case the surface of the nail tends to lose moisture, becomes soft and you might most likely notice some formation of powder on the nail.
Research has show that about 18% of the world’s population is at risk of this condition. In fact 5% of this group is the Americans. This condition might not be very common in children. Ideally the rate of infection for adults under the age of 18 and children is almost 1 person per 200. This means that as you grow older, you get even more exposed to the condition. It has also been realized that at least 50% of the worlds population experience this condition before they turn 70.
Toenail discoloration is mainly caused by wearing tight shoes which do not allow the foot much space to breathe. If you did not know, try and avoid layered nail polish. It is also a prominent cause of this condition. You can also be more exposed to this condition if your feet stay much in damp and moist areas like locker room or bathrooms. If you are also diabetic, HIV infected or have problems with your circulatory system, then you are more exposed to this condition.
Many doctors conduct interviews to try and elicit information from the patient as to how the condition started. If at all you involve yourself in jobs that highly risky, or wear socks and stocks, participate in sports and apply nail polish, then say this very blatantly. The disease might also be hereditary. If at all someone in your lineage suffered psoriasis which happens to be similar to this condition, then watch out. You might be the next in the line. In severe conditions, the doctor might actually take a sample of the toenail for lab examination.
Getting rid of skin discoloration/ toenail fungus
Such a condition in most cases might not heal on its own. If at all you do not realize and control the condition early, it might actually spread to other inner nails on the same foot. The nail might persistently grow on but still will be susceptible to the infection. In order to get rid of the affected toenail, the doctor might decide to remove the affected nail by filing, trimming, or also dissolved using bifonazole or urea paste.
There are also special medicated nail polishes that may be prescribed by the doctor. The polish mainly is constituted of loprox or loceryl. The patient is guided on how to use it and may apply it for a period of two months until the affected area is completely cured. The paste however might not work well for acute conditions but the initial stages of the disease. In severe situations, the doctor may also prescribe oral medication for antifungal purposes. The most common types of this medication are lamisil and sporanox. When you are thinking of these oral medications, be warned that they have side effects. It is therefore imperative to seek advice from your doctor before administering any medication. Surgery is not a common procedure in this case but might be ideal if the infection makes the patient to be immobile and distracts them from going around with normal daily chores.
Please check our selection of Morton’s neuroma shoes to find shoes that will also help provide support for toenail problems…