Black toenail fungus, also called onychomycosis, is probably one of the commonest toenail problems experienced, generally by professional athletes using their toes on a regular basis, especially while running. The problem can be quite severe if left untreated, and it can result in discoloration of the nail, inflammation, and possible disfigurement. Due to the high humidity in most athletes’ shoes and socks, which is actually the ideal habitat for growing fungus. This type of fungal infection occurs because the affected toenail is constantly exposed to moisture, and not enough protection is provided. The usual cause of this problem is a person’s weight, but it can also be caused by poorly fitting shoes or socks, and even wearing nails that are too long. Another cause is a predisposition towards fungal infections.
Onychomycosis is caused by the action of dermatophytes, microscopic organisms that normally live on the outer layer of your skin. These organisms come in different shapes and forms, depending on the kind of fungi they are trying to infect. For black toenails fungus, dermatophytes produce a substance known as ergosterol. This irritates the surrounding nails, causing them to turn black.
Ergosterol is produced by the melanocytes, small, butterfly-shaped structures that are found in each hair follicle, producing melanin. Black-skinned people have a higher concentration of melanocytes than other races, and they secrete more ergosterol. When you rub your hands in areas where your skin is very dark, such as the palms of your hands or under your fingernails, you can transfer the germs from your hand to your nails. So, when you’re getting ready to use any kind of toenail fungus remedy, make sure that you wash your hands first. And if you already have the condition, it’s best not to shake your hand too vigorously.
Another one of these fungal infection causes is diabetes. In this case, the body has lost its ability to properly use insulin or sugar. This results in the cells not receiving enough nourishment, and glucose begins to build up in the blood. This can lead to the thickening and cracking of toenails as well as the other parts of your feet.
Certain kinds of medications can cause permanent damage to your nails as well. Some antihistamines and antidepressants can have this side effect; so be sure to see your doctor before beginning a new prescription. High doses of Vitamin A can also lead to the formation of yellow nails. It is important to note that there is no actual medication for black toenail fungus, but many types of topical remedies can help ease the symptoms.
In some cases, black toenails are simply caused by a genetic predisposition toward toenail thickening and breaking. If your parents had toe problems, you may as well have them – it doesn’t matter what type of treatment they had, it will most likely show up in your offspring. Genetics play such a large role in toenail growth because so many factors are involved. One example of this is race: There are far more blacks with thick, yellowed toenails than there are whites.
You can do a lot to prevent black toenail fungus from developing on your nails. The best thing to do is keep your feet clean and dry, and make sure that you wear sandals or flip-flops in public showers and swimming pools. Avoid sweaty clothing, nylon, and breathable clothes like cotton for the best protection against sweating and moisture. You should also try to avoid using nail polish.
Nail trauma, such as getting a cut or a bruise in your foot, is another factor in the development of black toenail. Any kind of trauma that causes an injury to the skin, such as a Nick or a cut, can cause a very big problem. This is why it’s always recommended to go to a doctor for professional advice first if you think you got hurt in some way. After the doctor determines that there was no trauma to the skin, you can choose to go to a nail salon and get a pedicure or a manicure. This can help to eliminate the problem completely if it hasn’t developed yet.
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