Fungal infection of the nails, also known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium is a condition that occurs worldwide, affects children and adults, more men than women, and which incidence increases with age. It is estimated that close to ten percent of the adult population of the United States has nail fungus.
This infection is usually transmitted person to person, through direct contact (skin to skin) or indirect contact (stepping on the floor, sharing shoes, etcetera), therefore it commonly presents among family members or people that use the same bathroom or shower, like it can happen at a gym or dorm, for example. About 80% of nail fungus occurs on the feet, and the occurrence of simultaneous toenail and fingernail infection is not common.
In order to achieve a good resolution of problems related with nail fungus, is important to obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment. At FSC we diagnose nail fungus clinically and usually confirm it by nail biopsy, taking a clipping of the affected nail and submitting it for laboratory pathology examination. This allows us to corroborate that we are treating the nail appropriately, since other conditions like nail dystrophy caused by use of occlusive footwear, or chronic inflammatory conditions like psoriasis, can mimic a nail fungal infection.
Treatment can be done with topical or oral antifungal medications, with close follow-up of liver function when using the latter, due to the potential damage to the liver as a side effect of antifungal use. Our offices also have laser therapy for onychomycosis available for our guests. For more information about nail fungus, its diagnosis and treatment, please contact Florida Skin Center and schedule a consultation with one of our Dermatology providers.