Skin fungus and nail fungus are difficult to avoid. But not every contact inevitably leads to infection. Only when small wounds or poor immune defense open the gates to them, the pathogens to danger. Mushrooms feel particularly comfortable in the humid and warm climate. Therefore, they prefer to spread on the feet: especially like "athlete's foot" between the toes or as nail fungus (onychomycosis, onycho = nail, mycosis = fungal disease), especially on the nail of the big toe. The pathogens of both forms are identical, so that fungus can form nail fungus and vice versa. In two-thirds of cases, the causative agents are filamentous fungi (dermatophytes, especially Trichophyton rubrum) - then nail fungus is also called tinea unguium. Less common culprits are yeast or mold fungi.
Nail fungus is contagious
The fungi are transmitted from person to person, mostly through spores in the small dander, which everyone loses. This is why you are particularly often infected where you walk barefoot and enjoy a pleasant climate for mushrooms, ie in the swimming pool, sauna or hotel shower. In order for the fungi to produce a nail fungus, however, additional factors must be present.
These include, for example, a hereditary susceptibility, a deficiency of weakness, vascular or nerve diseases (angiopathies, neuropathies), such as. As in diabetes or other metabolic disorders, but also misalignment of the feet, too tight shoes and repeated injuries (eg in sports).
Nail fungus infections are not just a cosmetic problem. Especially for diabetics, a nail fungus infection poses dangers. Because the spores cause injuries to the nail and the surrounding skin, through which bacteria can penetrate. In case of poorly controlled diabetes or circulatory disorders then threaten severe infections of the feet and legs.
Recognize nail fungus: symptoms and diagnosis
Fungal spores change the structure of the nail material. The nail thickens, becomes yellowish brownish and crumbles when nail cutting. If dermatophytes are at work, the changes usually begin at the free edge of the nail. If yeasts are responsible for the infection, the discoloration is more likely to be on the nailwall, where the nail grows out.
Fungal nail infections are often poorly visible to the naked eye. Therefore, many sufferers do not notice the nail changes or associate them with a fungal infection. But: If a nail fungus is not treated consistently, it can spread unhindered on the healthy nails - even on the fingernails. Complete safety gives an examination of the nail material at the doctor. He takes a nail test. Stained with a special ink, the fungal spores are easy to recognize. With these a fungal culture is created, which provides information about the type of pathogen - important for the appropriate therapy.
Anyone who is no longer able to control the nails themselves should now and then visit a podiatrist. Podiatrists are state-recognized medical chiropodists who are also aware of the specific risks of diabetes.