Fungal Nails (cont.)

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What causes fungal nails, and what are some of the risk factors?

In normal, healthy people, fungal nails are most commonly caused by fungus that is caught from moist, wet areas. Communal showers, such as those at a gym, or swimming pools are common sources. Athletes have been proven to be more susceptible to the fungus. This is presumed to be due to the wearing of tight-fitting, sweaty shoes associated with repetitive trauma to the toenails. Having athlete's foot makes it more likely that the fungus will infect your toenails.

Elderly people and people with certain underlying disease states are also at higher risk. These include anything that impairs your immune system can make you prone to getting infected with the fungus. These include conditions such as AIDS, diabetes, cancer, or taking any immunosuppressive medications like steroids.

Is nail fungus contagious?

While the fungus must be obtained from someplace, it is not highly contagious. Nail fungus is so common that finding more than one person in a household who has it is hardly more than a coincidence. It can be transmitted from person to person but only with constant intimate contact.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/26/2014

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