What's in this article?
What is Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus is an infection that gets in through cracks in your nail or cuts in your skin. It can make your toenail change color or get thicker. It can also hurt. Because toes are often warm and damp, fungus grows well there. Different kinds of fungi and sometimes yeast affect different parts of the nail. Left untreated, an infection could spread to other toenails, skin, or even your fingernails.
Symptoms of Toenail Fungus
Nail fungus (onychomycosis) is very common, with estimates showing that about 3 to 12 percent of the population suffers from fungal infections on their fingers or toes to some degree. Older people are more likely to have nail fungus than younger people, and people with compromised immune systems are even more susceptible.
Symptoms of toenail fungus may include:
- Thickening of the nail
- Change in nail shape
- Loosening/lifting of nail
- Crumbling of nail edges
Who Gets Toenail Fungus?
Men are more likely to get it than women. The older you are, the better your chances are, too. People who have diabetes, athlete’s foot, or a weak immune system, who smoke, or whose family members have it are also at a higher risk. If you spend a lot of time in the water or you’ve injured your toenail, your odds for getting toenail fungus go up.
Contributing Factors causing Toenail Fungus
Factors that can increase the risk of developing toenail fungus include:
- Wearing closed-toe shoes
- Getting pedicures with improperly sanitized tools
- Having a chronic illness, such as diabetes or HIV
- Having a deformed nail or a nail disease
Treatment for Toenail Fungus
The way you treat toenail fungus depends on which fungus you have and how bad the infection is. Your doctor may try one thing or a combination:
- A topical cream that goes directly on the nail
- A topical nail lacquer
- An antifungal prescription pill
- Removing the damaged area of the nail or skin
In some cases, you might need to have the nail removed completely with surgery.
Toenail Fungus Pictures