Toenail Fungus: Symptoms, Causes And How To Treat Them

Toenail fungusMany people have found themselves faced with the pain and unpleasantness of an infected toenail. Unfortunately, toenail fungus is far more common than many people realize.

A fungal infection attacks the toenail or nail bed through small cuts or openings between your toenail and the nail bed.

There can be a number of causes for toenail fungal infections. Knowing common toenail fungus symptoms and treatment options can help you manage this condition.

Common Causes of Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus begins when an infection sets in and the fungus begins to grow.

Typical toenail fungus causes include:

• Poor fitting shoes
• An injury to the toenail or surrounding area
• Walking barefoot on public pool decks or in public showers
• Sharing nail clippers
• Improperly sterilized equipment used for pedicures
• Sharing a towel

Of course, a toenail infection can also result from untreated athlete’s foot. Many nail fungal infections are caused by the same fungus that is present in athlete’s foot infections.

Fungal infections thrive in moist environments, so it is important to keep shoes, socks and feet dry. It’s essential that you not share personal items that could introduce a toenail fungus.

Toenail Fungus Symptoms

A quick visual inspection of your toenails might be all that is required to diagnose a toenail fungal infection.

Of course, your doctor will provide the best diagnosis and might even do tests to confirm the presence of fungus. They will also provide professional guidance in choosing the most effective treatment options.

Some of the most common toenail fungus symptoms include:

• Thickening of the nail
• The nail turns white or yellow
• The toenail begins to separate from the nail bed
• Nail starts to crack or crumble
• Pain or discomfort in the infected area

How to Best Treat Toenail Fungus

A toenail fungus is generally not serious. It can certainly be uncomfortable or even downright painful. It can also lead to cracked, broken or yellowed nails, which are unsightly. But for the average person in good health, a toenail fungus will generally not pose any long-term health problems.

Of course, without effective treatment, the situation can quickly escalate, leading to permanent damage to the toenail or nail bed. People with health conditions, such as diabetes or weakened immune systems are at greater risk for complications.

There are a number of different treatment options for a toenail fungus infection. Unfortunately, there are also some treatments that do not provide much help.

One treatment option is laser treatment. This utilizes advanced laser technology. It is a safe, painless procedure that has excellent long-term results.

Other toenail fungus treatments include antifungal creams, nail polish or lotion. Many of these products are available over-the-counter. They have limited effectiveness, depending on the severity of your infection.

Your doctor can also prescribe a stronger antifungal lotion or even pills. But they can have some very serious side effects and it is important to be monitored by your doctor.

Additionally, there are home remedies that people have found effective. But many of these treatment options can take several months to begin working and your condition could worsen during this time.

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