What is nail fungus?

The most common nail disease, thought to affect 1 in 10 Irish adults, is a fungal infection (known as onychomycosis) of the toenails or fingernails caused by a fungal microbe that invades the nail bed, getting in through cracks in the nail or cuts in the skin. Causing nails to thicken, discolour, disfigure and split, the condition can appear to be purely cosmetic at first.
Toenails are much more likely to be infected than fingernails. Not just unattractive to look at, onychomycosis in toenails can lead to permanent deformity, which can interfere with being able to wear shoes, walking, sports and many other activities.
Fingernail infection has been known to cause psychological, social or employmentrelated problems. Without treatment, the condition will not heal and may progressively worsen, spreading tosurrounding skin and other nails.

Who gets nail fungus?

Adults, Sports Lovers and Families…..
Adults, especially the elderly, are more likely to have onychomycosis than children. The incidence of onychomycosis has been increasing steadily and is associated with diabetes, a weak immune system and increased age. The disease is more common in men than women, but can affect any adult who comes into contact with this contagious fungi.
Sports Lovers are particularly at risk, especially those who participate regularly in sporting activities like swimming, football and running as well as gym goers etc anywhere that common changing rooms and shower cubicles are used on a regular basis.
Families are also at a higher risk, as just one member of a family who suffers from a fungal nail infection can pass it to others through washing clothes, using shared bathrooms and other familial activities. For many reasons, fungal nail infections can remain a problem that many people may suffer with all their lives.

Click to see our aftercare advice for prevention of reoccurence.

What causes nail fungus?

Dermatophytes are a type of fungus that can grow on the skin, hair and nails. The most common dermatophyte, Trichophyton rubrum, causes most cases of Athlete’s Foot. Athlete’s foot, in turn, can infect the toenails. You can get infected by contact with objects that have dermatophytes on them, such as clothing, shoes, nail clippers and files, showers and changing room floors as well as carpeted floors. Dermatophytes are the primary cause of almost all fungal toenail infections.
Yeasts are a type of fungus that grow on the skin and nails. Whilst they are normally present in certain doses on the human body, things like illness, antibiotics, birth control pill use and immune system problems may lead to an overgrowth of yeast, causing infection on skin and nails.
Moulds (often called nondermatophytes) are a type of fungus that commonly grows in soil and can grow on the skin and nails. However they aren’t usually contagious. Fungi thrive in warm, moist and dark environments like socks, trainers and shoes, making effective long term treatment difficult.

Symptons of nail fungus

Knowing what the symptoms are is crucial to the early detection and successful treatment of fungal nail infection. Below is a list of symptoms to watch out for…
• Thickened nail
Crumbly or brittle nail
Nail distorted in shape
No lustre or shine in your nails
Streaks or patches increasing in size
Itchy skin surrounding nails or persistent Athletes Foot
A white, yellow or brown coloured nail, caused by a build up of debris

If you’re suffering any of the above symptoms, please get in touch with Dublin Nail Laser Clinic
for an appointment with our clinicians as soon as possible.

Click here to make an appointment

Preventing nail fungus

Most importantly, make sure to treat any signs of Athletes Foot immediately. Be sure to speak to your local podiatrist or pharmacist about this!

• Keep feet clean, cool and dry and change your socks.
Invest in good shoes! Wear shoes that “breathe” like leather, rather than plastic.
• Make sure shoes fit correctly and are not too tight.
• Avoid walking barefoot, especially in bathrooms, locker rooms, gyms and on carpeting.
• Be especially careful when using public bathing areas wear slippers or stand on a towel or piece of paper.
• Keep toenails short, cut straight across and avoid ingrown nails. Don’t use the same clippers on abnormal nails and normal nails.
• Family members and close personal contacts should seek immediate treatment for any fungal infections they may have to avoid contagion within the family group.
• Discard old shoes, trainers etc don’t be tempted to share your footwear with others!