Onychomycosis or ringworm is a group of infections caused by one or more fungi. It is common, especially in the toenails. It tends to affect more men with blood circulation problems and those over 60 years of age, those with diabetes, athletes and also ranchers. The infection is usually caused by dermatophyte fungi such as 'Trichophyton rubrum' that are capable of invading keratinized skin structures such as hair and nails. It can also be produced by yeasts such as 'Candida albicans' and non-dermatophyte filamentous fungi such as 'Fusarium spp.'.
Normally the infection begins in one of the big toes and, if not treated in time, can spread to the rest of the toenails. Onychomycosis may appear to be aesthetic alterations of the nail but, on some occasions, it causes chronic pain that is difficult to resolve. They can come back frequently even after receiving treatment.
The appearance of onchomycosis is caused by the presence of humidity, mainly in summer, when the feet can remain wet for a while and when swimming pools and public changing rooms are frequented, or by not drying the feet properly, especially in the interdigital spaces.
The infection is usually caused by dermatophyte fungi such as 'Trichophyton rubrum' or 'Trichophyton mentagrophytes'. It can also be produced by yeasts such as 'Candida albicans' and non-dermatophyte filamentous fungi such as 'Fusarium spp.'.
Some risk factors for onychomycosis to occur are:
- News padecido pie de atleta.
- Be over 60 years old.
- Have blood circulation problems.
- Have a weakened immune system.
- Suffer from diabetes or psoriasis.
The types of onychomycosis are:
- Distal subungual. The free edge of the nail begins to turn yellow and begins to thicken.
- Proximal subungual. The damage begins at the root of the nail. Yellowish or whitish areas are seen that move towards the free end.
- Superficial white. The infection begins with whitening, first in small spots that grow and form large areas of the nail surface.
- Melanonychia, 'pigmented nail' or 'brown nail'.
- Onychodystrophy. Total deformation of the nail, which becomes very thickened, curved and easily fragmented.
The symptoms that indicate the existence of onychomycosis are: color variation as it becomes whitish, yellowish, and even brown over time; thickening; and deformity that even shows peeling. There may also be itching and, in advanced cases, pain.
In addition to the physical examination and the description of symptoms, an examination will be performed under the microscope with potassium hydroxide; a histopathological examination of nail clippings and subungual debris stained with periodic acid-Schiff; and a culture to determine the fungus causing the infection.
These fungal infections are difficult to cure. The regimen usually includes oral treatment with antifungal drugs such as itraconazole or terbinafine. These antifungal drugs are taken for about three months and after that time the nail may continue to have an abnormal appearance. The affected nail does not improve but the one that grows should, by now, be normal.
You can also apply a topical antifungal that is mixed with a nail polish, but it is not very effective when used without the oral drugs.
After touching infected nails or nails, wash your hands thoroughly. You must keep your nails short, do not use nail polish until the infection has disappeared, and disinfect all utensils that have been used to clean your nails or that may have come into contact with them (nail clippers, towels, bath mats, etc.). .
Onychomycosis can be prevented with good foot hygiene, preventing it from remaining wet for long periods of time and drying the foot properly after bathing or showering, paying attention to the interdigital spaces. Nails must be kept short and feet dry and ventilated.
It is also key to use flip flops or sandals in public bathrooms or changing rooms; do not share shoes. Wear socks made of breathable materials, such as cotton, and change them daily.