Toenail fungus is a very common reason for pain in toenails. Though it is a very common issue, there are still questions surrounding what toenail fungus looks like and how to treat fungal toenail.
We’ve put together this article to help you learn more!
First Off, What Is Toenail Fungus?
If you’re showing signs of discolored toenails and other unpleasant symptoms, you may just be dealing with toenail fungus.
A fungal nail infection develops from the overgrowth of fungi in, under, or on the nail. It’s common knowledge that fungi thrive in warm and moist environments, so the nails on your feet have ideal conditions for fungi to naturally overpopulate. Most fungal nail infections are caused by the very same fungi that cause “athlete’s foot”, ringworm, and “jock itch”. The rapid overpopulation of fungi that are already present in your body can cause nail infections. Fungal nail infections are quite communicable, so if you’ve come in contact with someone who had a fungal infection, you may have contracted it too. Toenails tend to be affected more than fingernails, since they’re usually confined to shoes, which are the ideal breeding grounds for these fungi.
Pedicures at nail salons can also lead to fungal nail infections, which is why you need to make sure the tools are cleaned and disinfected regularly and well. Tools like nail cutters and files can very easily spread fungal nail infections from person to person if they’re not sanitised properly.
Toenail fungus is a form of infection that basically travels through the cracks in your nail / the cuts on your skin. It can change the colour of your toenail and make it much thicker than normal. It can also be very painful to deal with. Since toes are usually kept warm and may be damp due to sweat, they act as the perfect breeding ground for fungus, allowing it to thrive in these conditions. There are different types of fungi and even yeast that can affect the different parts of your nail. When left without treatment, the fungus can spread to your skin, the other toenails, and sometimes even your fingernails!
What Does Toenail Fungus Look Like?
A very common question that gets asked is “what does toenail fungus look like?” It’s good to know the symptoms so you can know how to treat your fungal toenail.
What does toenail fungus look like, you ask? Here’s your answer:
- A change in colour of your toenail, to either yellow, brown, and even white
- Thickened and often misshapen looking toenail
- Chalkiness / cloudiness in spots on your toenail
- Your toenail is separated from your nail bed
- Lots of breaks and cracks in one or multiple spots on your toenail
There are many ways toenail fungus can alter the visual appearance of your toenails. That’s why it’s important to know what it looks like, so you can treat it before it gets more serious.
If you find yourself noticing any of the above symptoms, you may just be dealing with toenail fungus and you should seek treatment with a podiatrist accordingly.
Am I At Risk For Fungal Toenails?
If you’re wondering whether you’re a candidate for toenail fungus, we’re here to answer your question. Just like all infections and diseases, certain people tend to be more at risk when it comes to contracting fungal nail infections.
You’re at higher risk of contracting fungal nail infections if you:
- Have diabetes
- Are over 65 years of age
- Wear artificial nails / regularly get pedicures
- Have a disease that causes poor circulation
- Have a nail injury
- Swim in public swimming pools often
- Have a skin injury around your nail
- Wear close-toed shoes often
- Have a weakened immune system
- Leave your toes moist for extended periods of time
If you check yes under any of the above, don’t ignore your discolored toenails and see a podiatrist for treatment!
How to Treat Fungal Toenail
It is very important to know how to treat fungal toenail, so you can avoid further infection/damage. When left undiagnosed and ignored, fungal toenails can go south very quickly.
If you think you may be dealing with toenail fungus, here are some home remedies to help treat it:
- Snakeroot Extract: Sometimes the best solutions are found in nature. The extract of this antifungal plant can be used to treat fungal nail infections, and has proved to be as effective as ciclopirox, a drug-store anti-fungal treatment.
- Ozone Oils: Oils like sunflower oil and olive oil are oils that contain the same gases that exist in the ozone layer. Many studies have been conducted that have concluded that these “ozonized” oils are effective when it comes to treating nail fungus and may just be the best home remedy on how to get rid of a nail infection. In fact, a study took place in which sunflower oil had higher clinical effects than a common antifungal medication called ketoconazole.
- Oregano Oil: Another proof of the effectiveness of nature is oregano oil. It contains “thymol”, a naturally occurring phenol that is said to have antifungal properties. In treatments, this oil is also combined with tea tree oil, but this increases the risk of negative side effects, irritation, and allergic reaction.
Not all of these at-home remedies may be best suited to you. The effectiveness of treatment truly depends on your symptoms and situation. Seeing a professional podiatrist will ensure a proper diagnosis which will lead to better treatment. In general, podiatrists will prescribe you with oral antifungal medications. These medicines are very effective and show the most potential in toenail fungus treatment. Apart from oral medicines, you may even be prescribed a topical antifungal cream. Pairing these two is usually your best bet for swift treatment.
We hope this article helped answer your questions surrounding toenail fungus. If you think you may be dealing with any issues related to your feet, book an appointment with Bucks Foot Clinic! We’d be happy to help you.