What causes nail fungus?
is caused by a fungus. It digests keratin, which is a tough, protein,
component of the nail. The fungus may enter between the hard nail plate and
the nail bed which is the softer tissue underneath the nail. As the
infection progresses, organic debris accumulates under the nail often
discoloring it. Other infectious organisms may be involved. The nail plate
may separate from the nail bed and crumble off. The nail may also become
thick and/or misshaped. Onychomycosis is not a problem to be ignored - it
will not clear up on its own! In fact, if left untreated, it can spread to
other nails and make everyday activities, such as walking or writing,
painful and difficult.
There are many good treatment options you and your doctor can chose from
to help clear up onychomycosis:
|Systemic treatments (taken by mouth in a pill form) |
|Surgical and chemical treatments |
|Topical treatments |
Make an appointment with your doctor
if your nails looks discolored, abnormally thick, if you have swelling on the
skin surrounding the nail, or you have a nail which appears to have separated
from the nail bed. Only your physician can make the proper diagnosis and
Since treating nail fungus can take some time - up to six months - be
patient! Follow the advice of your doctor and, most importantly, stick with the
Those who become infected vary by occupation. Generally,
people who work or play where their hands are continually exposed to
moisture are at greater risk. Also, if you have a relative who had it, you
are more likely to get it, as are those with certain types of immune
Board-Certified Dermatologist and a member of the Intense Pulsed Light
Education Institute, and the American Academy of Dermatology.
Graduated from Columbia
Presbyterian Hospital in New York and Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.