What Is Toe Nail Fungus and How Does It Grow?

Nail fungus is a condition that affects about 10% of the population in general, and 50% of those over the age of 60. Toenail fungus, also called onychomycosis, is an infection of the nail and skin surrounding the nail, and is more common than fingernail fungus. Toenail fungus is caused by exposure to fungus usually by walking barefoot in areas where fungus can thrive. These areas include pool areas, locker rooms and workout facilities.

Toenail fungus also often starts after injury to the nail, which allows the nail fungus to get under the nail. Toenail fungus often appears as a white or yellow discoloration of the nail at the tip of the nail or along the edge of the nail.  It can then spread to infect other areas deeper in the nail.  This makes toenail fungus very resistant to treatment in later stages.  Toenail fungus can cause the nails to become discolored, thick, brittle and painful, and is more common in the toes, because they are often warm and damp.  Excessively sweaty feet can lead to skin and nail fungus.  

Nail fungus can also be caused by dermatophytes, yeast and molds. These organisms infect and live off the hard material that forms the nail, known as "Keratin". Athlete’s foot, which is a fungus infection of the skin between and around the toes, can lead to toenail fungus also. Nail fungus is more common in older individuals and those with other conditions such as poor circulation, diabetes and a weakened immune system.  Damage to the nail can cause cracks in the nail and separation of the nail from the nail bed which allows fungus to get in and under the nail. If not treated early, toenail fungus can eventually infect and destroy the entire nail.

Signs of Nail Fungus:

  • White/yellow spots, discoloration of nail.
  • Thickening of the nail.
  • Brittle nails.
  • Nails that become raised or cracked.
  • Crumbly material that builds up under the end of the nail.

Toenail fungus is a common problem affecting millions of people.  If not treated early, toenail fungus can lead to severe damage of the nails that can be chronically painful. Toenail fungus is contagious and, although rare, can be passed from one person to another through direct contact. However, it is more likely to contract the nail fungus walking barefoot in public areas. Also, sharing nail clippers, wearing someone else’s shoes and constant covering of the nails with nail polish can cause nail fungus.

Early Sings of Nail Fungus

White or yellow spots/discoloration are often the first sign of toenail fungus.  Other common signs are thickening of the nail with crumbly debris under the edge of the nail. Early treatment of nail fungus is key.  Do not wait until the infection becomes severe! Using RESTORE Antifungal Nail Solution, along with frequent nail care, will help eliminate nail fungus.