At first glance, it is surprisingly common how often nail fungus and ingrown toenails co-occur in patients. However, upon deeper examination of how nail fungus and ingrown toenails come about, it ends up not being that surprising after all.
Fungal nail infections occur when a trauma or injury to the nail, or a cut on the toe, exposes the nail bed. When you come into contact with fungus under these conditions in environments where fungus thrives – such as public pools or carpeting – the fungus begins to grow on the nail bed. As it grows, it slowly infects the nail and causes it to become thick and brittle.
Ingrown toenails occur when the corners of the toenail grow into the flesh of the toe. Although ingrown toenails are most common on the big toes, they can occur on other toes as well, and in some cases people can even develop ingrown fingernails. The most straightforward cause for ingrown toenails is not cutting the nails straight across and instead curving them, which results in corners that dig into the flesh as they grow out.
Considering how nail fungus and ingrown toenails occur, it is quite understandable that the two tend to co-occur a large proportion of the time. As ingrown toenails cut into the skin, they leave these cuts exposed to the environment. These cuts often result in infections, and the nature of these infections can be bacterial or fungal. When a group of fungi called dermatophytes infect these cuts, it can result in nail fungus.
Conversely, sometimes an active fungal nail infection can result in ingrown toenails as well. Nail fungus causes the nail to become thick and raise off the nail bed, and can even cause it to curl. As it does so, it can dig into the flesh of the toe, resulting in an ingrown toenail. Ultimately the ingrown toenail causes even further infection, resulting in a cycle of damage and pain.
Neither nail fungus, nor ingrown toenails are conditions that should be taken likely, since they are both serious conditions that require medical attention. If you are suffering from nail fungus, you can avoid ingrown toenails or other further problems by seeking treatment using the PinPointe laser, which is the most effective treatment for nail fungus. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our doctors at one of our over 120 locations.