The 3 Main Causes of Toenail Fungal Infections
A fungal toenail infection can strike anyone, though it usually occurs in adults. Usually, a toenail infection will only occur after it has already struck a person’s feet. Once the infection reaches the nails, it can become hard to cure. Even after the fungus is eradicated, there is always the chance that it will come back. Toenail fungal infections usually come from three different sources.
The sort of normal shoes that people wear every day can be the culprit behind the growth of fungal infections. When people wear boots or shoes that crowd the toes and constrict the feet, they are more likely to sweat. Athletes are especially at risk for these infections because their feet sweat more often and the dampness will likely be absorbed into the shoes. Fungi love dark, warm, and wet environments. A way to prevent infections from growing in shoes, is to wear sandals or open-toed shoes. Another good idea is to keep dry socks handy so you can easily change them if your socks get wet. Many new socks are made from dry-wick materials that will keep the moisture off of your feet, which will prevent fungal infections from growing and spreading. Finally, fungi hate the sun and UV rays will kill them. So, as often as possible, try to expose your feet to some sunshine.
People who have circulation problems in their lower extremities, like people with diabetes, or a weak immune system, like those with HIV, are especially susceptible to fungal infections. HIV weakens the immune system, which makes it more likely that someone will get fungal, parasitical, bacterial, or viral infections.
For those who suffer from diabetes, blood may not circulate properly to the lower extremities, which makes it harder for the immune system to eliminate fungal infections.
All of us face a weakened immune system and poorer circulation as we age. Thus, older people are more likely to end up with a nail fungus. The reason for this is because the elderly have been exposed to fungi for many years, which may also explain why they are more likely to suffer from an infection.
Finally, when your toenail has been injured in some way, it may also be susceptible to a fungal infection. If a nail is cut, the fungus will be able to invade the toenail bed. Trauma is not the only way that fungi can sneak into the toenail, though. Athletes and people who wear shoes that are ill-fitting or too tight are also creating cracks in their toenails that fungi can sneak into. Infections such as these can be accompanied by other problems such as ingrown toenails.
Again, people with diabetes face an increased risk. As they have less feeling in their feet due to poor circulation, they are more likely to repeatedly injure their toes. This constant damage will continuously create tears in the skin for fungi to get through.
No matter the cause, if you suspect that you might have a toenail infection, it is very important that you seek medical attention immediately. Untreated fungal infections can quickly transform into more serious bacterial infections.
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