If one of your toenails has become discolored, thickened, or cracked, it is likely that you have a toenail fungal infection. The fungus responsible for this infection gets into the cracks of your skin or toenail and cause the symptoms. Since the toes are often damp, the fungus thrives in that part of your body. There are many types of fungi or yeast that can cause toenail fungal infection. If the infection is left untreated, it will not only infect your other toenails but also your fingernails or skin, too.
Symptoms of Toenail Fungus Infection
People who have been infected with the toenail fungus usually have thick or irregularly shaped toenails. An infected toenail can easily break. It is usually yellow in color, although, in some cases, it can display a dot that usually grows bigger. In certain cases, a toenail fungal infection can affect the skin under the toenail. This can result in the loosening or even the separation of the toenail from its nail bed. The infection can also spread to the skin surrounding the infected toenail.
Who are Prone to Toenail Fungal Infection?
Generally, men are more prone to having a toenail fungal infection as compared to the women. This is primarily because men wrapped their feet not only in shoes but also in socks, too. This increases the warmth in their feet, making them sweat and become moist. This becomes an ideal environment for the fungus to thrive. Older people are, likewise, more susceptible to getting a toenail fungal infection. If a person has a weak immune system, is a smoker, or has family members who have had a toenail infection, he is also susceptible to becoming infected. People who spend more time in water or have a toenail injury are also prone to having an infected toenail, too.
How is Toenail Fungal Infection Treated?
Once you experience the above-mentioned symptoms of toenail fungal infection, it is best to see your doctor so that proper diagnosis can be done and effective treatment can be given. After all, the symptoms of toenail fungal infection can be similar to those of psoriasis. In the event that a doctor says that, indeed, yours is a case of toenail fungal infection, the following treatment may be prescribed:
- Antifungal cream or ointment that is topically applied to the affected toenail
- Antifungal pill
- Non-surgical removal of the affected toenail
- Antifungal lacquer
- Surgical removal of the nail.
It is much easier to prevent toenail fungal infection than to treat it. In many cases, a treatment may take a year or so for the symptoms to totally go away. Hence, you should make sure that you take good care of your toenails by ensuring that they are clean and dry. Always wash them with soap and water and dry them thoroughly, especially the space between the toes, before wearing your socks and shoes. Also, it would be a great help if you put some foot powder in your socks before wearing them. It will not only prevent your feet from becoming moist; it can prevent them from becoming smelly, too.