Nail fungus is a common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause your nail to discolor, thicken, and crumble at the edge. It can affect several nails. Nail fungus is also called onychomycosis (on-ih-koh-my-KOH-sis). When fungus infects the areas between your toes and the skin of your feet, it’s called athlete’s foot (tinea pedis).
If your condition is mild and not bothering you, you may not need treatment. If your nail fungus is painful and has caused thickened nails, self-care steps and medications may help; however, even if treatment is successful, nail fungus can reoccur.
The nails take a lot of abuse. From gardening and dishes to regular wear and tear, harsh chemicals and hard work can take a toll on the condition of fingernails and toenails. Many nail problems can be avoided with proper care, but others may indicate a serious health condition requiring medical attention.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nail problems comprise about 10% of all skin conditions, affecting many older adults. Brittle nails are common nail problems, typically triggered by age and the environment. Other conditions may include ingrown toenails, nail fungus, warts, cysts, or psoriasis of the nails. All of these common ailments can be effectively treated with the proper diagnosis.
A person’s nails can reveal a lot about their overall health. While most nail problems aren’t severe, many serious health conditions can be detected by nail changes, including liver diseases, kidney diseases, heart conditions, lung diseases, diabetes, or anemia.
Many nail conditions can be avoided by using proper nail care. This includes keeping your feet clean and dry, using foot powders when necessary, trimming nails straight across, and not wearing footwear that is too tight. You may also want to wear gloves when doing dishes, yard work, or the like.