what does toenail fungus look like

onychomycosis with fungal nail infection

Toenail fungus is an unpleasant foot condition that results from an infection. It is a frustrating problem that affects many people, and it can be persistent and hard to get rid of. The feet are especially susceptible to toenail fungus because shoes and socks create the ideal dark and moist environment that fungal infections thrive in. Fungus thrives in the toe region because of the propensity of that area to be damp and warm.

This fungal infection makes its way into your skin via cracks in your nails or cuts within your skin.  This common condition often begins with just a small yellow or white spot at the tip of the nail and progresses to cause nail discoloration, thickening and crumbling. Read on to learn more about toenail fungus and what to do if you think you have it:

Symptoms of Toenail Fungus

  • A slightly foul smell in the area.
  • A dark coloration of the nail. This is caused by debris building under the nail.
  • Distorted shape in the nail, warped or just shaped oddly.
  • Ragged, crumbled or brittle nail.
  • Yellow-brown or whitish discoloration on the toenail.
  • Toenail thickening. 

What Causes Toenail Fungus?

A fungus infection occurs when there is an overgrowth of fungi on, under or in the nail. As mentioned above, fungi thrive in moist, warm environments, making toenails an ideal host for it to thrive. Toenail fungus can also result from yeast or mold but this is less common. One of the most common causes of toenail fungus is cracks within the nail. This allows an opening for fungus, which is all around us, to make its way into the nail. Furthermore, because your skin cracks as you age, age can be a risk factor for this foot condition as well. Remember, fungus is everywhere, from showers and gyms to locker rooms and swimming pools. You can also get a nail fungus from a nail salon, so make sure any salon you visit practices a high level of sterilization on all their nail tools. 

Risk Factors For Toenail Fungus

  • Diabetes as this medical condition causes a weakened immune system, making your body more susceptible to infection. 
  • Minor skin injuries or skin conditions that cause openings in its protective outer layer like psoriasis.
  • Walking in damp communal areas like the aforementioned gyms, showers or locker room barefoot.
  • Getting athlete’s foot regularly. 
  • Frequent sweating. 
  • A reduced blood flow because of age and increased exposure to fungi overtime. 
  • Toe may become painful due to the pressure of a thicker nail or the buildup of debris.

What Can Happen if Left Untreated

While you can treat nail fungus on your own, if you are having trouble getting your toenail fungus under control, see a professional foot doctor for help. Leaving an infection alone, without treatment, can cause permanent damage within the nail and allow the infection to spread to other areas of your foot. Also, a severe toenail fungus infection is painful, so you shouldn’t suffer needlessly when treatment is available. 

What to do if You Have Toenail Fungus

If you have tried the over-the-counter methods mentioned above and still aren’t able to eradicate your toenail fungus, it’s time to visit us at Red Mountain Footcare. Let our professionals determine the proper way to treat your hard-to-treat fungus and get you the relief you deserve. Call us for an appointment today!

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Another article you might be interested in: How To Prevent Toenail Fungus