BLOG - TREAT THE SKIN NOT THE NAIL! 

Athletes foot is generally easily treated using over the counter remedies but the fact that the nail harbours the fungal infection and is very slow to grow makes clearing up a fungal nail a challenge.  
 
Our nails are made up of three layers and the infection can be localised to the lowest layer and the skin under the nail plate. Onychomycosis can cause thickened, unsightly and sometimes painful nails in a variety of colours ranging from white to yellow and even green as different fungi families appear as different colours. 
What on earth is a fungal toe nail? They seem to appear from nowhere and can be challenging to get rid of. 
 
As humans we have the pleasure of playing host to a variety of microorganisms and our feet lovingly house around 100 types of fungi. These live-in perfect harmony, but are known as ‘opportunistic fungi’ meaning that they are loitering around waiting for the perfect opportunity to run rampage and dominate the area of skin that has become perfect for breeding. 
 
Unfortunately for us the perfect environment for breeding is dark, warm and ideally moist for example inside a sock or shoe. Add to this a minor trauma for example a crack in the skin or a damaged nail and there you have it a visible fungal infection. On the skin this is known as Athletes Foot (Tinea Pedis) and when the skin under the nail becomes infected, we call it a fungal nail (Onychomycosis). When we have an active fungal infection, the fungi create spores so we can infect our nearest and dearest especially in a wet environment like a bathroom floor. 
 
Athletes foot is generally easily treated using over the counter remedies but the fact that the nail harbours the fungal infection and is very slow to grow makes clearing up a fungal nail a challenge. Our nails are made up of three layers and the infection can be localised to the lowest layer and the skin under the nail plate. Onychomycosis can cause thickened, unsightly and sometimes painful nails in a variety of colours ranging from white to yellow and even green as different fungi families appear as different colours. 
 
Ways to prevent Athletes Foot and Fungal nails 
 
1. Always dry your feet thoroughly especially between your toes 
2. If you have sweaty feet change your socks twice a day 
3. Wear bamboo socks which wick moisture from your skin and are naturally antifungal 
4. Use a foot cream daily to prevent cracks 
5. Avoid footwear that creates pressure on your toe nails 
6. Do not cut toenails too short as this can expose the nail bed to damage 
 
If you are struggling to treat a fungal nail Stride Clinic can help using a technique known as The Lacuna Method™. Tiny holes are painlessly drilled into the nail to allow a daily application of an anti-fungal agent to penetrate through to the lower layers and the skin treating the fungal nail at the source, this process is repeated every six weeks. 
 
A big toenail can take a full year to regrow but with dedication and regular photographs to remind you how far (in mm) your nail has come the results are worth it. 
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