Understanding the anatomy of your nails to understand nail fungus
It’s important to understand the anatomy of your nails to appreciate:
- How fungal organisms cause your nail fungus; and
- What you should consider after your cold laser treatment so that you don’t get reinfected from the ambient fungus in your environment.
Your nails are like a stack of sheets of paper
If you took the opportunity to look at a normal nail under a microscope it looks like a stack of sheets of thin paper – 100x thinner than a piece of glad wrap. These sheets are made up of cells made up of keratin. Keratin is what’s on your skin that prevents water from getting into your skin. Keratinocytes fuse together each of the layers to each other, and they also adhere the bottom layers to your nail bed. Your nail bed is very specialized material made to accept and connect the nail on to it.
Your big nail and pinky nail are the most at risk
Your nails are derived from scales just like the scales fish and reptiles have. Like fish scales, your nails are basically impenetrable – it’s very hard to get fungus into a nail. Essentially, you need a traumatic event to get access to the nail bed eg. stubbing your toe, dropping something on your toe, cracking your toe nail etc.
Ambient dust with fungal spores are all around us and once those particles get into the keratin, the organisms survive by eating the keratin – just like a worm eats wood and rots the wood.
Most cases of nail fungus access the nail via trauma and this is why nail fungus usually starts on the first or the fifth nail of your foot – because that’s the nail that’s hitting up against your shoe and is the entry point at the tip of the nail where the layers of the nail are exposed.
Nail fungus is highly contagious
Another common trauma which can occur is when you cut a fungal nail down using nail clippers and then cut the next nail and therefore use your nail clipper to transfer fungal spores from nail to nail. Additionally, your shoes are a great fungus incubator.
Your shoes are warm, dark and moist and the fungus have all the food they need. For these reasons, we treat all ten nails – because even though it may not be readily apparent that a nail is infected, it may be infected that in a way that is not easily visible. Our Lunula cold laser machine treats all of your nails and we know for sure when you leave our clinic, you will have no living fungus in your nails.