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What to Do About Thick Yellow Toenails

A vast amount of people suffer from a wide array of problems with their feet. Some are bothered with yellow toenails that are often very thick. The cause of this ailment is a toenail fungus which is an infection termed onychomycosis by medical professionals.

This fungus thrives well in warm, dark environments that contain moisture such as the very socks and shoes an individual may be wearing. Toenail beds are protected by the nail surface from injury as well as infection and even the slightest rupture or tear in this surface provides a means of entry for fungi to breed. After the fungus has entered the nail surface it takes hold of the toenail beds and the nail plate helps to keep the fungi in place making it extremely hard to get rid of.

Avoiding the Infection

Proper foot care is the most important factor in the avoidance of fungi. Everyday activities such as walking, running, and playing sports can result in a break or rupture of the nail surface. Wearing a proper fitting shoe will further help in prevention of damage to toenails as well as an individual’s feet. However, keeping the nails cut short and straight will lower the risk of snagging and tearing the nails.

This fungus can also be spread by person to person contact in public places like pool showers and gym or health club showers. Sharing nail grooming instruments with someone else such as clippers and emery boards is not recommended and therefore utilizing the services of a professional nail salon also heightens the risk of becoming infected with this fungus.

Toenails with a fungal infection appear unsightly due to the discoloration. Often the nails on one or both feet may turn yellow or green and in some cases the nails may turn a very shade of brown. Besides the discoloration of the nails, there are some other signs and symptoms to look for which may include:

• Brittle nails that often crumble easily.
• Distortion in the shape of the nails, many times referred to as being raggedy.
• Healthy nails on both hand and feet have a natural shine and those with infection lack this shine and luster and instead are very dull.
• With the thickening, nails begin to flake off in layers and sometimes even larger pieces.
• Often a foul odor may be detected due to debris collecting under the nail.
• Due to the deterioration of nail surface, pit marks are often found.
• Many times the nail will begin to have one or more splits appear and the nail may even completely separate from the nail bed. This may or may not cause pain the toes.
• In some instances, the skin of the toes around the infected nails becomes flaky and scaly often accompanied by inflammation and redness.

Obtain a Treatment

As with any infection, nail fungus should be treated promptly and properly with medications. Seeking the advice of a physician will be necessary. There are many methods of treatment and often more than one treatment may be needed. There are several antifungal creams and liquid medications that can be applied topically. Many of these are available over the counter while some may require a doctor’s prescription. Where indicated an oral medication or a combination of medications are used even though many of these can have some side effects.

Finally, prevention is the best medicine of all. Complete and thorough foot hygiene includes wearing socks that are clean and switching shoes often. Lastly, in prevention of the further spread of the fungus, always dry feet thoroughly making sure that between the toes is also dried completely.
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