What is it?

Fungal nail disease (Onychomycosis) effects up to 14% of the population. Fungi that feed on keratin, a structural protein within your nails, often cause this condition. The disease may result in pain, can be contagious and often results in a negative self-image.

Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nail which often causes thickening and discoloration of the nail plate.  Of all fungal infections that occur on the body, nail infections are the most difficult to prevent and treat.

What causes it?

Onychomycosis is condition caused by nail fungus.  Fungi grow in all warm, moist places.  The fungus usually commences growth at the end of the nail plate and continues to spread under the nail.  Sometimes chalky, white plaques form on the nail surface and, as the infection progresses, yellowish, brownish discoloration may be seen.  Cell damage by the fungus to the foot of the nail can cause the nail to thicken and change shape.

How is it treated?

Nail fungal infections can be treated in three ways:

  1. Topical treatments
  2. Oral Medication
  3. Laser treatment

Topical treatment:

A visit to the podiatrist for cutting and thinning of the nails may be required.

Application of an anti-fungal topical medicament, which is available at the Auckland Podiatry Clinic or over the counter at your chemist, must be applied daily.  This treatment will help to prevent spreading of the infection to nearby nails and helps to cure the infected nail.

This treatment is very slow and can be required for up to 12 months or even longer.

Oral medications:

Oral medications are more effective than topical treatments however they can have serious side effects on your liver and kidneys, therefore, these must be discussed with your family doctor due to possible systemic side effects.

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