Why Its Important to Treat Toenail Fungus Right Away

With fungi present naturally in and on the human body with various other bacteria, fungal infections can affect any part of your body if their presence overgrows. Talking of fungal toenail infections today, it is a common condition that leaves you discolored, brittle nails.

The scientific name of the condition is onychomycosis, and it may begin as a minor concern. However, like several foot conditions, delayed treatment can result in serious complications. Here is why it is so crucial to treat Toenail fungus right away.

We also have some treatments and signs of fungal infections for you to check!

Why Should You Treat Toenail Fungus Right Away?

healthy feet

Not treating toenail fungal infections can lead to the following:

  • Permanent Nail Damage or Loss

Toenails are an integral part of overall foot health. They also have an essential aesthetic role. When you allow toenail fungus to persist, you risk the well-being of your nails. Prolonged toenail fungus can compromise the ability of nails to adhere to the skin. It might even cause permanent toenail loss with stunted nail growth. For some, it can lead to damaged nails. So, make sure you see a doctor as soon as you suspect a fungal infection.

  • Skin Infections

Toenail fungus can have negative impacts beyond the nails when left to persist. From a minor contact with a cut or scratch on your skin to harm requiring extensive treatment, get your toenail fungus treated right away. It can cause skin infections that are physically uncomfortable and painful. 

a toe with fungal infection 

  • Chronic Discomfort Interfering with Normal Life

It can also make it tough to be in more mundane activities. Toenail fungus treatment is a simple, safe, and highly effective method of dealing with this issue. Your foot doctor can use laser energy to eliminate the bacteria causing your condition in less than an hour.

Toenail fungus may cause a little discomfort in its early stages. As a result, it is easy to underestimate the significance of treatment. However, the longer this condition persists, the more likely you will encounter pain consequently. This discomfort can make it hard to participate in your favorite sports and hobbies.

  • Fungus Entering Bloodstream

In worst cases, toenail fungus can enter your bloodstream, causing widespread infections within your body. However, this is rare and happens only if you leave your condition untreated for a good while.

Common Nail Fungus Treatments

a doctor clipping someone’s toenails

  • Nonprescription Options. Antifungal creams, gels, and nail polish are available without a prescription in stores and online. If your infection is not severe, you might want to try one of these first. Some people also recommend home remedies like menthol rub or tea tree oil. However, there are conflicting results, so we do not recommend them.
  • Medical Intervention. See a doctor and let them decide on a treatment plan. Most prescribe antifungal gels and creams for application. You may get some pills too. 
  • Surgical Nail Removal. If the infection is severe and you’ve had it for a long time, your doctor may recommend that you have all or part of your nail removed. A new nail will usually grow back, but it may take up to a year. While it is returning, your doctor will most likely prescribe a cream or other treatment to apply to your nail bed to keep fungus at bay.
  • Laser Treatment. We do not recommend it unless it is a last resort.

Signs of Toenail Fungal Infection

Toenail Fungal Infection 

A fungal nail infection can affect a portion of the nail, the entire nail, or several nails.

The following are common symptoms of a fungal nail infection:

  • a distorted nail that may separate from the nail bed 
  • an odor emanating from the infected nail
  • a toenail that has become brittle or thickened

Why Does Toenail Fungus Develop?

feet of women in green grass

The overgrowth of fungi on our toenails causes a fungal nail infection. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments and may naturally overpopulate. You can also catch toenail fungal infections if you touch someone having it. 

Risk Factors

Multiple factors cause fungal toenail infections. Each cause has its treatment. Risk factors include having:

  • Diabetes
  • A poor circulation
  • wear artificial nails
  • swim in a public swimming pool
  • a nail injury
  • a skin injury around the nail
  • moist fingers or toes 
  • are over age 65
  • a weakened immune system
  • wear closed-toe shoes

Tips to Prevent Fungal Nail Infections

healthy toenails on a woman's feet

A few simple lifestyle changes can aid in the prevention of a fungal infection of the nails. 

  • Take good care of your toenails. Keep them trimmed and clean to avoid any infections.
  • Avoid skin injuries around the toenails. 
  • Do not touch your feet with damp hands all the time. 
  • Wash your hands after touching infected nails.
  • Make sure you keep your feet dry. Especially after you shower or wash them, use a towel between your toes. 
  • Get pedicures from trustworthy salons. If they do not sanitize tools like emery boards and nail clippers, they can spread fungal infections from person to person.
  • Do not be barefoot in public places.
  • Reduce using artificial nails and nail polish.

The Takeaway

Taking care of your toenails is imperative for overall foot health. If you suspect toenail fungus, get it treated as soon as possible. Delayed treatment can worsen the condition of your toenails, leading to more complications. It is easy to identify toenail fungal infections. 

There are many more conditions relevant to the feet and their nails, for instance, curved toenails and athlete’s feet. Here is how to treat curved toenails and athlete’s feet naturally.