Toenail Fungus: Symptoms, Causes & Prevention Tips

The prospect of dealing with brittle, crumbling, yellow toenails that have been assaulted with fungus is unpleasant. Most people imagine a yellow/brown discolored nail thicker than usual and rotten. But the fungus is everywhere around us. It can take root in the nail bed of anyone. It may have a foul smell. That is the late stage of a fungal toenail – a sign that the fungus has been growing under the nail plate for quite some time. Toenail fungus can be caught in the early stages and prevented from reaching the point where it disfigures a nail. The signs of it are subtle but not undetectable.

Signs of Early-stage Toenail Fungus

Knowing the symptoms of a toenail fungus infection will enable you to detect it in the early stages:
  • Look out for any changes to the shape and condition of your toenails.
  • A fungal toenail will start to look uneven and distorted.
  • It may crumble or look flaky around the edges of the nail rim.
  • Yellow/white or brown spots can appear on the nail plate.

If you observe any of these symptoms, you should get your toenails checked by a podiatrist as soon as possible.

Fortunately, there are many over-the-counter antifungals available that can treat the toenail fungus. More tenacious cases of toenail fungus can be treated by advanced medical treatments. After successful treatment, the affected toenail should be able to heal completely.

What Causes this Pesky Toenail Fungus?

Desiderius Erasmus’ (Dutch humanist scholar) famous phrase “Prevention is better than cure” has become a fundamental principle of modern healthcare strategies. So, the simplest way to counter toenail fungus is to prevent it from infecting your nails.

Toenail fungus can take root due to various factors, but good hygiene and proper foot care generally prevent most cases. It is caused by excessive exposure to dampness and moisture. A person who has feet that sweat heavily and exposes their bare feet to damp locations is more at risk of developing a fungal infection. Athletes and Swimmers are more susceptible to it.

Preventing Toenail Fungus

The preventive measures below can reduce your risk of developing a fungal toenail infection:
  • Wash your hands and feet frequently,
  • Wear breathable socks and shoes,
  • Avoid walking barefoot in damp and dark areas (like locker rooms and swimming pools).

If you are concerned about your toenails’ health consult one of our professional podiatrists and discuss your treatment options, including PinPointe FootLaser.

The foot experts at Desert Podiatric Medical Specialists in the Tucson, Oro Valley, and Green Valley areas of Pima County, Arizona, have unparalleled experience treating all aspects of foot and ankle care. If you have any questions or want to make an appointment, please call (520) 575-0800.

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