Fungal nail infections are the UK’s most common nail disease.
Estimates of how many people suffer from the disfiguring, unsightly, and embarrassing condition vary greatly. However, the numbers are in the millions.
A fungal infection of the toenail (also known as onychomycosis) is one of the most common dermatologic disorders affecting the foot. Our nails help us to manipulate objects, aid our sense of touch and protect the tissues at the end of our fingers and toes. As such they are prone to either gross injuries or chronic minor trauma, and it is this trauma that may create the injury that initiates the fungus spreading from its harmless colonisation of the skin into the nail and nail bed tissues. This eventually can lead to gross destruction of the nail. Footwear, causing toenail impacts, is a common source of chronic minor injury and also an excellent environment to allow the frowth of fungus.
Whereas athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin, onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nail and nail bed tissues; there are quite a number of different types of fungus that can lead to a fungal nail infection, but the most common are T. Rubrum and T. Mentagropyhtes.
The disease is characterised by a slow destruction of the integrity of the nail, thickening of the toenail plate, damage to the nail bed and its supporting structures, debris under the toenail, a lifting of the leading edge of the nail, a change in nail colour and often an unpleasant odour. Patients complain that toenail fungus is uncomfortable, ugly and deeply embarrassing; they just do not want their nails rotting on their toes.
The disease often causes significant damage to the nail-bed structures and can cause the growth of distorted. overly-thickened, abnormal, nail-bed tissue. The repair and regeneration of the area can take a significantly long time and may also cause some vaping degree of permanent damage.
Doctors, and patients alike, often ignore this condition because the infection can be present for years without causing any debilitating pain.
As podiatrists specialising in fungal nail disorders, we take a different view. We believe the conditions can be cleared with the right protocol, the use of the best laser techniques, and the cooperation of the patient. We tailor or treatments to the variable nature of the problem and how it presents in that particular patient.