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Onychomycosis, simply known as nail fungus, is a common condition that can cause fingernails or toenails to discolor, thicken or crumble. It occurs in over 3 million cases per year and can be chronic or lifelong. However, it is treatable by a medical professional.

How does nail fungus (onychomycosis) occur?

Most fungal nail infections are caused by various fungi; the most common fungi is called dermatophyte.

Most infections can occur at any age; however, you as you age, your nails become more brittle and prone to cracking. This allows the fungus to enter. Older adults are at higher risk of developing nail fungus.

Risk factors

As we mentioned, age is a major risk factor for developing nail fungus. Other factors include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Poor circulation, diabetes, or a weakened immune system
  • Exposure to swimming pools, gyms, shower rooms or other damp, communal areas
  • Psoriasis or other minor skin conditions

Some cases may become severe, leading to pain and permanent damage to the nails. For those with compromised immune systems, whether from medications, diabetes, or other conditions, you’re at higher risk of the infection spreading to other parts of the body beyond the feet or hands.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your doctor will examine your nails for any signs of an infection. Depending on the severity of your condition, he or she will also collect samples from under your nail to a lab to identify the fungus that is causing the infection.

After your doctor has examined your condition, he or she will determine the best treatment. Treatments can include:

  • Medicated cream or nail polish
  • Oral antifungal medication
  • Permanent nail removal

Choose Dermatology of Athens

If you’re experiencing issues with your nails, give us a call. Our trained staff will identify any issues you may have and provide effective relief.

Contact Us Today

Have questions or concerns? Please call us at 706.353.8220

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