A fungal infection that is predominantly transmitted from person to person is called onychomycosis of the feet, although the disease can also affect the nails. The moist nutrient medium of the nail is a favorable factor for the development of onychomycosis, because it contains a large amount of keratin. The fungus feeds on them and thrives over the years. Treatment of an infectious disease is lengthy, so it should be started immediately.
What causes the disease
The cause of onychomycosis are pathogenic microorganisms - dermatophytes, yeasts and molds. The most common independent pathogen, which is often found - the fungus T. Rubrum. The largest percentage of diseases is caused by this microorganism.
Fungi of the genus Candida cause foot infection in 10% of cases. Non-dermatophyte molds can also be independent causes of onychomycosis, but they can also provoke it in the background of damage to the nail joints on the feet with a mixed infection.
Once they settle on the skin of the feet, the microorganisms quickly begin to develop, forming colonies, spores, and localizing on the nail plate. It serves them as a litter, but under certain conditions. In nature, fungal microorganisms are found everywhere and in large numbers. Tissue penetration and localization on the skin occur with suppressed immune protective function and age-related changes in the acidic environment of the body. That is, every person is faced with infectious fungi, but not all of them are transmitted. The main mode of infection is contact:
- through hygiene and household supplies;
- in public bathrooms, showers, locker rooms;
- wearing someone else's shoes;
- with the general use of manicure accessories;
- in case of injuries, scratches, wounds on the legs.
Walking barefoot on a river or sea beach can also cause an infection. The infection occurs through keratinized scales of the skin and nails left by a person with onychomycosis.
The development of the infection is caused by the climatic and social living conditions of the person, depending on gender (men get sick more often), age, professional activity and the presence of concomitant diseases. What factors contribute to the infection:
- Decreased immunity.
- Increased sweating of the feet.
- Mechanical nail injuries.
- Disorder of blood circulation.
- Diabetes mellitus and obesity.
- Diseases of the endocrine system.
- Inflammation of the feet in the area of the feet.
- Wearing tight shoes that "don't breathe".
- Blood vessel pathology.
- Venous insufficiency.
- Frostbite or deformity of the legs.
Age-related changes contribute to a decrease in immunity, disorders of the endocrine and circulatory system, so older people very often get onychomycosis of the legs. Favorable factor for the development of microorganisms is disrespect for personal hygiene, carelessness on the skin of the feet and nails, neglect of periodic disinfection of shoes.
Signs of athlete's foot
Toenail lesions have visible symptoms. At any stage of the disease, the fungal infection is accompanied by characteristic changes on the nail plate.
Symptoms and signs of toenail fungus:
- Nail discoloration. They get a whitish, brown, yellow, rarely green hue.
- The thickness of the nail plate is disturbed - it becomes thinner, it begins to peel.
- The shape of the toenails is deformed, protrusions, protrusions, grooves and grooves appear on them.
- The nails peel, acquire mobility, adhere poorly to the finger, that is, they become inflamed and slowly die.
- An unpleasant specific odor appears, which indicates the beginning of an inflammatory process or decay.
- Soft tissues and skin around the nail plate are affected, peeling and redness.
- In the area of the toes there is severe itching, unpleasant pain, the person has difficulty walking.
But the first signs of mycosis of the feet are the appearance of itching between the toes, peeling skin particles. It is much easier to kill the fungus at this stage. Treatment should begin immediately after the detection of such signs, not independently, but by contacting a specialist.
Stages of onychomycosis
It is common for the disease to be divided into three main phases, depending on which symptoms accompany the disease: normotrophic, hypertrophic, and atrophic. In addition, onychomycosis is divided into several types. Each of them has its own symptoms, based on which they choose the treatment of the fungus:
- Marginal onychomycosis of the foot. The main signs are minor injuries to the edge of the nail plate, the formation of narrow gray streaks, the first symptoms of peeling on the skin.
- Normotrophic nail mycosis. The most common stage of the disease, which is characterized by symptoms - brittleness, the formation of white spots, nails lose their natural shine.
- Hypertrophic type of disease. It is characterized by erosion of the edge of the nail plate and its thickening with subsequent change. It is divided into three forms - total, lateral, distal.
- White superficial onychomycosis. It is also divided into three forms - proximal, distal, mixed. Main signs: damage to only the upper layer of the nail plate, looseness of the nail.
- Onycholytic mycosis. Symptoms - the nail quickly loses its shine and becomes gray. The plaque is quickly affected and falls out, and hyperkeratosis is formed in its place.
- Proximal deforming and candidal appearance. It is characterized by deformation of the nail bed, the plate crumbles, breaks and falls out over time.
- Atrophic onychomycosis. The main symptom of the fungus is that the affected nail plate becomes grayish-brown in color and is completely rejected from the nail bed.
Based on the signs and the general clinical picture, the dermatologist prescribes an effective treatment. Ideally, it should be preceded by a microscopic diagnosis and identification of the cause of the disease.
Treatment of onychomycosis with drugs
The pharmaceutical market offers a large selection of effective drugs that can help get rid of the fungus. Treatment of toenails from damage by fungal microorganisms is very long, depending on the stage of disease development.
- Lucky. Their treatment is effective in the initial normotrophic phase of foot disease. Their action is based on destroying the membrane of the fungus and repairing the damaged nail.
- Another form of drug is drops. They contain chloronitrophenol and naftifine derivatives, which destroy spores of the fungus and destroy the entire colony.
- Ointments and creams based on azole and allylamine substances. They penetrate deep into the cell membrane of the fungus and kill it from within.
- Keratolytic patches. They are not aimed at treating diseases of the feet, but at removing keratinized nails. These include urea and salicylic acid. Damaged plates can be easily removed after application.
- Tablets inside. In the case of an extremely severe form of fungal infection, the doctor may prescribe systemic antifungal drugs that help eradicate colonies of microorganisms and prevent the recurrence of the disease.
Effective treatment of foot fungus is guaranteed only in the case of long-term complex therapy, which includes not only drug treatment, but also the use of traditional medicine, vitamin therapy, nail cleaning and antibiotics for bacterial infection.
Prevention of fungal infection
In order not to suffer from the unpleasant fungus, every person must adhere to the rules of personal hygiene, take care of toenails. It is not recommended to wear narrow shoes made of unnatural materials - this is a favorable environment for the development of bacteria and microorganisms. It is necessary to give up the pleasure of walking barefoot in the crowd - on the beaches, in swimming pools, bathrooms and saunas. In addition, you should not wear other people's shoes, not use your own manicure and pedicure sets and dry yourself with someone else's towel.
Fungus on the feet affects healthy people with good immunity much less, who adhere to personal hygiene, eat well and avoid contact with potentially sick people.