If there is fungus that spreads under one or more toenails the there is a toenail fungus infection. Nail fungus belongs to a group of fungi called dermatophytes and these fungi grow in warm, moist environment and invade the nail through the tiny breaks in the nail bed. Toenails are susceptible to fungus infection as they are commonly in a warm and moist environment of a shoe. Once the circulation in the toes is diminished then this will prevent the body’s immune system from fighting the fungus.
Toenail fungus has different signs for every individual. It is important to recognize these signs so that you can start treating them as soon as you can and that you can get rid of such fungal infection at once.
Sign #1: Brittle Nails
The nails become brittle once they are infected with fungus says Medline Plus, a website of the National Institutes of Health. Fungus causes a breakdown in the nail which lead to damage nail since the brittle nails can no longer offer protection. In this case, the patient should make an appointment with her doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment of the nail fungus. The patient can clear away loose or crumbly nails using a nail clipper and a nail file while she is waiting for her schedule with the doctor. This can improve the appearance of the toenail since the build-up of nail crumbles is being prevented. The cutting of the crumbling nails stops the nail from being ripped off during some physical activity which may cause more damage to the nail bed.
Sign #2: Dark Color
According to MayoClinic.com, another sign of toenail fungus is a dark color underneath the nail which is caused by some debris from nail breakdown which builds up over time. Applying topical medication as well as filing the top of the nail cannot remove the dark color below the nail. It is more effective if you take oral medications that can treat the fungus under the nails. In addition, a patient should not try bleaching her nails or use other home remedies for toenail fungus until she talks to her doctor.
Sign #3: Thickened Nail
MayoClinic.com says the toenail may thicken over time in order to block the invading fungus. This thickened toenail may become painful in the future especially when she wears tight fitting shoes. In order to prevent toenail thickening, one may file her toenails regularly. However, it is very important to treat the fungus in order to heal the toenail.
Sign #4: Itchy Nails
There is itching of the nails once you have fungal infection. If there is frequent itching under your toenail, you may have toenail fungus. If possible try to prevent yourself from scratching because you can spread the fungus onto your other nails on your feet or on your hands.
Sign #5: Nail Separation
The most painful sign of toenail fungus is when your nail is separated from the nail bed. If this happens, consult your doctor immediately.
Whichever symptoms you first notice, you can start at once with any medical treatments or home remedies for your toenail fungus. The earlier you start treating your toenail fungus, the faster you may be able to control it.