Fungal infections of the foot can affect the toenails and the skin.
Fungal infection is the most common disease of the nails and constitutes about half of all nail abnormalities. Toenails are affected more commonly than fingernails and approximately 6-8 percent of the adult population is affected by this condition. Men are more often affected than women and usually later in life, after the age of 40.
Signs of fungal toenail infection include nails that are discoloured (white or yellow), brittle, crumbly or ragged, thickened, distorted in shape and separated from the nail bed. There is usually no pain or other bodily symptoms, unless the disease is severe.
Risk factors for toenail fungal infection include family history, increasing age, poor health, poor foot hygiene , prior trauma to the nails, warm, damp climate, participation in fitness activities which can lead to repeated minor trauma, diseases that influence the immune system (e.g. HIV, diabetes), exposure to damp communal areas (e.g., gyms, swimming pools), , and occlusive footwear.
Fungal infection of the skin on the foot is most commonly known as Athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot causes scaling, flaking, and itch of the affected areas. Blisters and cracked skin may also occur, leading to exposed raw tissue, pain, swelling, and inflammation.
You can take pre-cautions in preventing fungal infections. These include: