Nail fungus is a common problem and it happens to more people than you think. There is often shame or embarrassment attached to this nail condition, but we are here to help you get through it! There is no need to feel bad about it. The most important thing is to get it treated right away.
What is a nail fungus?
Fungal toenails are an unsightly infection of the nails, causing thickened, brittle, yellow, discolored and sometimes painful nails.It is caused by one of several microscopic organisms, similar to those that cause Athlete's Foot (dermatophytosis) These are plant like organisms that thrive in a dark, warm, moist environment, such as within shoes and stockings. They grow in the nail bed, beneath your nails, and live off Keratin, the protein in the nail.
The condition usually begins toward the far end of the nail and may cause white or yellow-white areas that appear to be rotten or dead. If the infection continues to the base of the nail, it can invade the nail root (matrix) and cause the nail to grow thickened and deformed. Many people complain of a foul odor associated with this condition. It can also spread to other nails. The fungus often spreads to the adjacent skin surrounding the nail.
Symptom of toenail fungus
It may not be painful in the beginning, and may only look slightly different than the normal nails. Later, the nail may begin to show small patches of white or yellowish-tan color and may become brittle and split. As it progresses, the nail becomes thicker and deformed and may begin to grow at an angle and become an Ingrown Nail.
Pain develops, due to the ingrown or thickened nail deformity, and becomes aggravated by pressure applied by shoes. Inflammation can develop due to this pressure and a secondary bacterial infection may occur, leading to more pain. Even without inflammation, shoe pressure on the fungal nails can cause pain, making it difficult to walk or stand for periods of time. This can also influence one's involvement in day to day activities.
You May Have Toenail Fungus If Your Nail Is..
Distorted in shape
Brittle or ragged
White, yellow or brown discoloration
Whitish to yellow-brown discoloration
Has a bad smell
Nail fungus can affect fingernails, but it's more common in toenails.