Usually caused by a fungus, most often Trichophyton rubrum, that typically begins at the tip of the toenail. This is a progressive condition often seen in elderly, diabetics, and those with impaired immune system but can be seen in any person. Exposure to wet, public environments such as public showers and swimming poools can spread this condition.
The nail can become thickened, discolored, have bad odor, and debris under the nail. The nail(s) can become painful and can be a source for further infection.
Keeping feet as welll as shoes and socks dry is important in controlling the infection. Treating both the skin and the nails is important as the skin could be a source for reinfection. Topical medications and oral medications are most often used and proper treatment can be determined by your podiatrist, a biopsy of the nail may be indicated. Lasers have also been ulitized for treatment of fungal nails. In some cases removal of the nail may be warrented.