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When someone is infected with nail fungus there are some common symptoms, the infection will often cause a discoloration and in severe cases can lead to the destruction of the toenail. There are numerous medical names for the affliction including Onychomycosis, Tinea unguium and ringworm of the nail. There are many types of nail fungus and the infection is caused by the group known as Dermatophytes and is commonly referred to as Dermatophytic onychomycosis. Dermatophytes feed on the keratin or the protein rich segment of a infected person’s toenails. This will lead to the nail losing both its hardness and strength. The warm and moist environment often found when wearing footwear and socks is a perfect breeding ground for fungus to thrive and spread.

Fungal Infection

The Different Types of Nail Fungus

Fungal Infection

Toenail fungus infections have been studied by medical experts and have been classified into four basic types. This has primarily been based on both the type and severity of fungal nail infection.

Distal Subungual Onychomycosis – The first type I would like to discuss is probabaly the most common type of nail fungal infection found in people.
It is usually caused by an infection from a fungus called Trichophyton Rubrum. You may first see signs of this fungus as your nail starts to change color. The color change will be noticeable and can range from yellow to white or a mixture of these colors. Generally this infection will start at the end tip of the nail towards the edges, later the nail may detach from the skin itself. The fungus itself can be dangerous because it will attempt to harm the toenail by forcefully entering the nail bed. Here the fungus will feed on the keratin, eventually destroying the keratin and making its way beneath the nail plate to feed and destroy the keratin present.Fungal Infection

White Superficial Onychomycosis – it is probably the second most common type of nail fungus infection, it is estimated that it only accounts for 10% of cases. The infection is caused by a fungus called Trichophyton mentagrophytes. In the first stages of the nail infection, only the surface of the toenail is infected. The infected part of the nail will appear white. This white material is easily scraped off. Towards the final stages the entire nail can turn white. The nail itself will sometimes appear like it is falling apart and dry. Generally type of nail fungal infection does not tend to hurt.

Candida – This type of infection is generally found confined to fingernails rather than toenails. The nail infection is caused by a type of yeast known as Candida albicans. In the first stages of the infection, the fingernail will turn cloudy and the skin surrounding it will become both painful and inflamed. Toward the final stages of the fungal infection, the nail will turn both thick and deformed. Eventually it may separate from the nail bed entirely.

Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis – This type of fungal infection is probably the least common. It is generally caused by the same fungus that’s responsible the Trichophyton Rubrum infection. The difference is that it enters the nail in a different place, close to the cuticle. It generally infects people whose immune system itself is weakened. Whilst the fungus grows, it will get deeper into the nail and the toenail will discolour to appear as a yellow or white discoloration. Eventually it may separate from the nail bed entirely.

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