A Brief 101 About Nail Fungus (Onychomycosis) for Massage Therapists & Bodyworkers

A Brief 101 About Nail Fungus (Onychomycosis) for Massage Therapists & Bodyworkers

Fungal nail infections are common infections of the fingernails or toenails that can cause the nail to become discolored, thick, and more likely to crack and break. Infections are more common in toenails than fingernails. The technical name for a fungal nail infection is “onychomycosis.” This is a local contraindication where the practitioner should not touch any part of the fungal infection or surrounding area.

Nails with a fungal infection are often:

  • Thick & Discolored (yellow, brown, or white)
  • Fragile or cracked

A fungal nail infection usually isn't painful unless it becomes severe. Some people who have fungal toenail infections also have a fungal skin infection on the foot.

Fungal nail infections can be caused by many different types of yeasts or molds that live in the environment. Small cracks in the nail or surrounding skin can allow these germs to enter and cause infection.[i]

The Mayo Clinic States:  Fungal nail infection can develop in people at any age, but it's more common in older adults. As the nail ages, it can become brittle and dry. The resulting cracks in the nails allow fungi to enter. Other factors — such as reduced blood circulation to the feet and a weakened immune system — also may play a role.

Toenail fungal infection can start from athlete's foot (foot fungus), and it can spread from one nail to another, but it is uncommon to get an infection from someone else. [ii]

Despite the CDC and Mayo Clinic discounting nail fungus as highly contagious from person to person, bodyworkers who work with the hands and feet are at high risk for transmission. Nail fungus IS contagious from person to person, and more exposure creates more risk of infection or transmission.  It’s important to avoid touching any fungal infection, keep your own hands clean and disinfect anything that contacts the fungus.

To learn more, please register for training at https://ceinstitute.com/

#massage #massagetherapy #massageprecautions #massagecontraindications

[i] National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. “Fungal Diseases.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,  25 Jan. 2017, www.cdc.gov/fungal/nail-infections.html.

[ii] Mayo Clinic Staff. “Nail Fungus.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 6 Mar. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nail-fungus/symptoms-causes/syc-20353294.

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