Fungal toenails are also called onochomycosis. Fungal toenails account for one-third of all the skin infections that occur. Fungal toenails are responsible for at least half of nail disease. It's caused when a fungus infects the nail matrix, the nail bed, and the nail itself. It's very difficult to get rid of and can cause a significant amount of pain.
You may suspect you have a toenail fungus if you have a yellow nail, a discolored nail, a nail that has debris underneath it, a nail that's lifting off or constantly flaking. The nail itself is quite painful to the touch, especially when they get thickened, and it's quite difficult to cut.
Fungal toenails are typically caused by trauma to the nail and nail matrix. A trauma occurs, and the fungus is able to penetrate the nail and your skin and starts to grow. Once the fungus is in there, it's very difficult to eradicate.
Some causes of nail trauma, it's very common with runners. It's very common with women who get pedicures. Even shoe gear, fungus loves to live in a warm, moist environment, and there is no more perfect place than your shoe. Wearing shoe gear on a daily basis, especially tight shoe gear where it pushes on your toenails, can give you an increased incidence of fungus.
Fungus is more common in women than in men, and it is also more common as we get older. The elderly population has a high incidence of fungus, and patients with systemic diseases, such as diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, can also get fungus. Fungal toenails in these patients can be dangerous, because it's quite difficult to cut. If an injury occurs, diabetic patients and people with impaired circulation can have problems with healing, and this can lead to serious complications.