What Is Nail Onychomycosis and how Does It Look?


Nail onychomycosis is a fungal illness of the infectious breed that affects the nail plates of people of any age and gender. It is more common in men (1.4 times more sick than women) and very rarely in children. In the risk group men aged 50-70 years (the prevalence at this age reaches 50%). According to recent studies, 10-15% of Russian residents are diagnosed with onychomycosis.

Development Factors

The main predisposing factors for the development of infection are:

  • social;
  • ecological;
  • individual feature of the body;
  • gender and age;
  • disorders in the vascular, immune and endocrine systems.

Onychomycosis is also closely associated with obesity, flat-footedness and other foot deformities. People with diabetes are more prone to damage to the nail plates, since they have a high content of glucose in the blood, which fungi use for metabolic processes.

Onychomycosis is very common in persons with problems with blood circulation in the lower extremities, especially with varicose veins.

The Main Symptoms of Onychomycosis of the Nails

At the initial stage of onychomycosis, the nail plate is not susceptible to deformation and only changes color. Most often, I and V are affected toes on the foot. The first signs of infection are considered to be:

  1. change the shape and color of the nail.
  2. depletion of the nail’s cushion.
  3. detachment of the nail plate from the nail bed.

All of these symptoms are attributed to different types of clinical forms of onychomycosis. They are divided into three clinical forms:

  • hyperpophic;
  • normotrophic;
  • atrophic.

For the hypertrophic form, a thickening of the nail plate and a yellowish color are characteristic. For a long time the surface of the nail can remain smooth and only with the progression of the disease can there be a loss of luster and detachment of the nail plate.

Normotrophic form does not differ pronounced hyperkeratosis of the nail. The main differences are the white and yellow areas in the thickness of the nail.

A distinctive feature of the atrophic form are thinning and detachment of the nail plate. In some cases, there are voids or partial destruction of the nail.

Any trauma of the periungual roller (very often in the process of manicure or pedicure) can cause the development of nail onychomycosis in people who have experienced foot mycosis.

There is also a classification of onychomycosis not only by the clinical picture of the lesion of the nail plate, but also by the depth of penetration of fungi into it. Today the forms are known:

  • distal;
  • distal lateral;
  • white surface;
  • proximal;
  • total dystrophic.

The most common are the first two options, rarely white and proximal. The latter form can develop both from the defeat of dermatomycoses and mold fungi, and against the background of fungi of the genus Candida.

Photo of Nail Onychomycosis

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of onychomycosis is carried out on the basis of the clinical picture and microscopic studies. It is important to exclude psoriasis, lichen planus, athlete’s foot and onychodystrophy. Nail scales are taken for research in the places of affection – this is the only way to determine the culture of a parasitic fungus.

With regard to treatment, in the initial stages it is possible to get rid of the infection within a few months. In advanced cases, treatment can last for years. Full recovery occurs after a complete change of the nail plate, and this is provided that all the precautions have been taken to avoid infection of healthy nails.

The duration of treatment is very closely related to the clinical form of onychomycosis and the growth rate of the nail. If the patient’s nails grow very slowly, then the treatment will be long.

In the prescriptions of dermatologists, modern antifungal drugs Lamisil, Neurobex, Terbinafin, Exoderil, etc. are most common. Many of them cost good money (from 400 rubles), and the course of treatment lasts several months, so it is not surprising that some patients resort to traditional medicine.

We are not supporters of the treatment of nail fungus folk remedies, but in the initial stages, you can use compresses of garlic juice, celandine and apple cider vinegar. It is best to choose one thing and lubricate the affected areas at night, wrapping your legs (or hands) in a plastic bag.

In conclusion, I would like to wish patience to those who are to undergo treatment and in no case to despair even if there is no visible result after a long time. A characteristic feature of all onychomycosis is considered to be a long-term treatment, as the fungi penetrate deep into the nail plate.

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