Common Symptoms Of Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus, collectively called Onychomycosis, can infect toenails through a break in the skin or at the bed and cause changes.
If left untreated, some toenail fungus infections can cause the nail to fall off, leaving the bed exposed and open to infection and injury. The fungus can also spread to the skin of the toes and other parts of the body.
There are several different types of fungus that can infect toenails, and the symptoms of each vary, but there are three common symptoms that are prevalent in most cases.
One of the commonly seen symptoms of infection due to toenail fungus is discoloration that occurs. The fungus causes a discoloration of the bed, which then spreads to the underside of the toenails. The color of the nail typically changes to yellow, but it can turn white in some cases. The nail color may initially be yellow and then, as the infection progresses, it may turn darker to a brownish color.
The color change initially presents itself as just a small yellow or white spot. As the fungus spreads, streaks or larger spotting can occur. If left untreated, the entire toenail will eventually be affected. Discoloration of toenails is usually caused by the category of fungus known as dermatophytes. These fungi can grow on nails, skin, and hair, but they do not penetrate beyond the outer layers of skin.
Another common symptom of toenail fungus is a significant thickening of the toenail. This typically occurs along with the initial color change, and the two symptoms together are a clear indication that a toenail fungus is to blame. The infection of the nail bed is the cause of this thickening. The toenail may thicken in an irregular pattern, so that one part of the toenail may be noticeably thicker than another.
If left untreated, the thickening could continue to such a degree that it causes pain, such as when a person’s shoes won’t accommodate the thickness and cause the shoe to rub the toe. The thick toenails are also hard to trim, which can lead to ingrown toenails; debris can also collect under the nail, increasing the likelihood of a bacterial infection.
Crumbling or Peeling
Toenail fungus will often cause the toenail to become brittle over time. This can occur with or without the thickening that often occurs with the fungus. As a result of the nail becoming brittle, it can crumble into pieces or break off in large chunks. This exposes the nail bed to infection and makes the toe more susceptible to injury.
Some toenail fungus infections will cause the toenail to weaken, allowing layers of it to peel off. This too opens the nail bed to possible infection, and the exposure can make the fungus easier to spread to other toenails or to skin on other parts of the body. Once it begins to crumble or peel, it is quite likely that eventually the whole toenail will fall off.
Using tolnaftate formulas for nail fungus can be very help in treating these symptoms.