Fungal infections of the nail plate are quite common they can affect as many as 2 in 10 people.
Over half of all nail problems are related to fungus. Fungal infections become more common as we age.
Fungal infections are unsightly as the nail will become thicker and crumble and may become discoloured. Nails may present as yellow, brown, white or even in some cases as green. They can lift of the nail bed leading to bacterial infections under the nail plate.
Fungal spores penetrate the nail plate when there has been some damage to the nail plate, a healthy undamaged nail plate will act as a barrier to invasion by fungal spores.
Once spores penetrate the nail plate hot sweaty feet in shoes provide a perfect environment for fungal spores to grow. The most common organism that causes fungus is Tricophytum Rubrum which is a dermatophyte. Various yeasts and moulds can also cause fungal infections. We often find that patients are infected with multiple organisms. Some of the places where patients catch nail fungus include communal showers and with women nail bars are one of the biggest sources of infection as they generally use no form of medically acceptable sterilisation. Other medical conditions which may lead to worsening fungal infections include Diabetes and Peripheral Vascular Disease.
Generally you might initially notice subtle changes in the nail plates texture and colour. There are other conditions of the nail plate which might be mistaken for fungus, as Podiatrists with years of experience we can diagnose Fungal Infections visually, however in some cases where doubt exists we may order pathology tests to confirm the diagnoses.
We have been using laser to treat nail fungus for over 9 years now. We are finding that the clinical results of treatment are 80%. Currently there is nothing that is 100% effective on the market. If you look at the pictures below which were taken before and again 12 months after treatment I think you have to agree they are pretty impressive.