Nails protect the tips of the fingers and toes. They are also indicators of the overall health of a person. Healthy nails are usually clear and free from deformities. In some cases, nails can thicken and turn yellow in color. Older people naturally develop these types of nails, sometimes it is caused by nail fungus.
Nail fungus, also referred to as Onychomycosis, is an infection of dermatophytes(a fungus that grows on skin, hair, and nails). They thrive in warm, moist environments, making toenails more commonly affected than fingernails. The fungus may affect a part of the nail or the whole nail. It occurs because of the previous contact with the fungus and becomes confined in the nail.
Some people are more likely to be affected than others. If you suffer from diabetes or autoimmune disorders, you are at a higher risk of contracting toenail fungus.
The infection can begin as small dark spots under the nail. The fungi enter through the cracks of the toenail, under the nails, as well as the corners of the nail. The infection gradually worsens making it unnoticeable at the beginning. It will not affect the whole nail initially, but it spreads and can get worse if left untreated.
The nail grows thicker as the infection develops. This is a result of nail cells reproducing faster than the nail can grow. The fungus can also get in between the layers of the nail and feed on the keratin(what nails are made of). This causes the nail to push itself into the toe, making it uncomfortable to wear shoes.
If you have thick and yellow toenails, contact us to schedule a FREE consultation with one of our doctors. If you are in the Northern California area, we have a clinic in Fremont, Berkeley, San Francisco, Walnut Creek, and San Jose. We have over 106 clinics nationwide and cure thousands of patients weekly.