Toenail fungus, while very common in adults and especially in seniors, can be difficult and complicated to understand. Where does it come from, how does it grow, and where can it go from here? Hopefully, this blog post will give you a clearer idea of toenail fungus so you are better equipped to deal with it.
Toenail fungus is caused by fungal spores, which are the dormant reproductive units of fungus. Once they attain a favorable environment, which for them is dark and damp places, they activate and proliferate, and release more fungal spores to further spread. The goal of every species is to continue its survival by reproducing and spreading rapidly, and as a very infectious condition, toenail fungus does that very well. Some of the dark and damp environments that host and therefore spread toenail fungus include public pools, showers, saunas and gyms, which, in addition to always being wet, also see a lot of foot traffic that deposits and spreads the toenail fungus.
The term “toenail fungus” misleads most people to believe that the infection is on the toenail itself, but what actually happens is that the fungus grows on the nail bed and then feeds on and breaks down the nail. Normally, the nail and your immune cells act as a barrier between the fungal spores and the nail bed, thereby preventing toenail fungus, but in cases of serious or undetectable trauma to the nail, or even lowered immunity, you may be susceptible to toenail fungus.
Once you catch toenail fungus, the infectious nature makes it easy for it to spread to others in your home, or even to other parts of the body. They are spread once again through fungal spores, which may be deposited in your carpets, bathrooms, beddings, or nail tools. The fungi that cause toenail fungus also tend to infect the skin, so this can result in other infections such as fingernail fungus, athletes foot, or jock itch.
Due to the incredibly infectious nature of toenail fungus, it is important to seek treatment early to prevent it from further spreading. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our doctors at one of our over 120 locations nationwide.