Nail Fungus

What is nail fungus?

Nail fungus (onychomycosis) is an infection of the nail usually caused by microscopic fungi, the dermatophyte, or most commonly Candida-like parapsilosis. Onychomycosis mainly occurs on the toenails, but it can also affect the hands. At the onset of the disease, a yellowish spot appears mainly on one edge of the nail of the big toe and then it will invade the entire nail. Over time, it can even take off and fall. This pathology then requires specific and rigorous treatment for several months.

What are the symptoms of nail fungus?

The symptoms of onychomycosis are easily identifiable:

  • Toenail yellowed, thickened and peeled off;
  • If the patient scratches under the nail, a whitish and contagious powder appears;
  • White spots appear on the surface of the nail;
  • The nail may crack or become rough;
  • Rare appearance of black spots.

When onychomycosis affects the nails on the hand, the symptoms are much the same as for the big toenail with the addition of redness, swelling and pain. In bacterial superinfection, a green pigment appears on the nail.

What are the causes and risk factors for onychomycosis?

Although fungi are the direct cause of onychomycosis, certain factors can be involved in their development:

  • Excessive sweating of the feet: fungi live in hot and humid environments;
  • Athlete’s foot;
  • Wearing tight shoes, wet socks;
  • Walk barefoot in public places (swimming pools, gymnasiums, saunas, etc.);

Some people are more at risk than others:

  • The elderly, especially among men;
  • People with diabetes;
  • People with a family history;
  • People with poor blood circulation in the extremities;

How to prevent nail fungus?

Certain preventive measures can prevent the development of nail fungus:

  • Wear comfortable shoes and cotton socks;
  • Change shoes and socks regularly to ventilate the feet and prevent humidity;
  • Use an antifungal powder in the shoes;
  • Adopt a rigorous hygiene but without excess of the feet;
  • Do not share your clothes and towels with others;
  • Have your nails cut short;
  • Keep your feet dry;
  • Thoroughly disinfect your scissors.

What are the treatments for nail fungus?

Several treatments for nail fungus are available:

  • Antifungal treatment as an ointment, varnish or orally under medical prescription.
  • Natural treatments after consultation with a specialist or podiatrist.
  • In extreme cases, surgical removal of the nail is essential

Why should I see a podiatrist for nail fungus?

The podiatrist can:

  • ensure the best possible care of your feet and nails;
  • prescribe an antifungal treatment or any other treatment suited to your case.

Make an appointment 

Trust our podiatrist who can provide you with the comfort you need by relieving your nails and feet.

PodiatreMD is a network in downtown Montreal, on Rue Jean-Talon (corner Lucerne), Laval, West Island, Gatineau and Ottawa. We are here to serve you. Our staff are as warm as they are competent and will know how to meet your needs. So don’t hesitate to call us to make an appointment.