I recently had to remove some of a patient’s toenails. Why on earth would someone want that done? Because they were infected with fungus. The medical term for a fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails is onychomycosis (OM).
This condition is generally more of a nuisance than a real health threat. However, the nails can become quite enlarged and painful. Diabetics and people who have poor immune function do need to be concerned about OM. Infected nails in these folks can lead to inflammation of the skin around the nails and entry of skin bacteria that can lead to serious skin infections.
Most people visit their doctors for OM because of the ugly nails. It is the most common nail disorder in adults and affects up to 13 percent of North Americans. It is 30 times more common in adults than children.