Nail infections are caused by a fungus call onychomycosis. This fungus grows on, in, or under the nail and causes the nails to become thick, brittle, and yellow. While not usually painful, if left untreated the thickened nail can become sensitive to pressure from tight shoes. Nail infections can also damage your nail bed if left untreated and grow progressively worse.
Athlete's foot is caused by a fungus that enters the skin and can rapidly spread to cause itching and burning sensations, accompanied by peeling scaly skin. Most commonly, athlete's foot symptoms occur in the areas between the toes where skin remains moist and warm, ideal conditions for fungal growth, but it can also affect other areas of the foot.
The fungi that causes athlete's foot and nail infections are found most often in damp, warm areas like gym locker room floors, public showers, and public pools and hot tubs. Walking barefoot in these areas can significantly increase the likelihood of picking up the fungus and becoming infected.
These infections can also be spread from one person to another by sharing shoes or socks with someone who is infected. Nail fungus often enters the nail through cracks or damage to the nail and quickly grows in this warm and often moist area.
People with a family history or predisposition to fungal infections as well as those with compromised circulatory or immune systems are also at an increased risk for infection.
Dr. Nagelberg diagnoses nail fungus and athlete’s foot with a physical examination of the foot and a review of symptoms. In some cases, a small sample of cells may be taken to identify the specific infection.
Athlete's foot and fungal nail infections are usually treated with prescription topical medications that are strong enough to penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin and nails where fungus takes root and grows.
Using over-the-counter products often fails to completely eliminate the fungus, leading to recurrent infection.
Oral antifungal medication is prescribed in advanced types of fungus where topical medicines are ineffective in getting rid of the infection.
Laser treatment is another option used at Park Slope Podiatry to effectively treat the presence of fungal nails.
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