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Fungal nails (onychomycosis) is caused by a combination of one or more fungal elements including: trichophyton rubrum, trichophyton mentagrophytes, and epidermophyton floccosum.
Fungal nails are more commonly found in toenails versus fingernails but can be present on both. Fungal infections can cause the nails to be discoloured, thick, and flakey.
The body normally hosts a variety of bacteria and fungi. Some of these are useful to the body. Others may multiply quickly and form infections. Fungi can live on the dead tissues of the hair, nails, and outer skin layers.
The following increase the risk of a fungal infection:
· Getting manicures and pedicures using utensils that have been used on other people
· Getting minor skin or nail injuries
· Having a nail deformity or nail disease
· Having moist skin for a long time
· Poorly functioning immune system
· Wearing closed-in footwear
Onycholysis is characterized by a spontaneous separation of the nail plate starting at the distal free margin and progressing proximally. In onycholysis, the nail plate is separated from the underlying and/or lateral supporting structures. Less often, separation of the nail plate begins at the proximal nail and extends to the free edge, which is seen most often in psoriasis of the nails (termed onychomadesis). Rare cases of onycholysis are confined to the nail's lateral borders.
Onychauxic nails are thickened nails without deformity, and this simple thickening may be the result of trauma, acromegaly, Darier's disease, psoriasis, or pityriasis rubra pilaris. In some cases, this may be hereditary.
Onychogryphosis is a hypertrophy that may produce nails resembling claws or a ram's horn, possibly caused by trauma or peripheral vascular disorders, but most often secondary to neglect and failure to cut the nails for extended periods of time.