The most common cause of a toenail infection is fungus and 12% among Americans are affected by it, and this is according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It is normal that our body has numerous bacteria and fungi but fungus can multiply so fast and cause toenail infection.
Like any other infections, toenail fungus can have health dangers and some complications especially if not diagnosed properly or treated right away. The dangers of this infection are mostly seen on people with diabetes or have weakened immune system.
According to The American Academy of Dermatology or AAD, toenail fungus usually affects adults and can be easily treated. However if left behind, toenail fungus can lead to secondary infections in the surrounding area and can be possibly spread to other parts of the body.
Developing the normal symptoms is one of the dangers of toenail fungus. And these symptoms, according to the National Library of Medicine, include brittle toenail and crumbling toenail. The shape of the nails change and debris gets in under the nail. The nails are discolored and there is loosening of the nail that it can be pulled out from the nail bed. It also becomes thickened and lost its shine.
If redness, pain, pus or swelling is present in the affected toenail or its surroundings, this is a sign that the infection has gone beyond the nail or the nail bed. Consult your doctor immediately if any of these symptoms appear.
If the toenail infection is left untreated, the toenail fungal infection can lead to permanent toenail damage, according to the Mayo Clinic. The worst is it can even cause permanent loss of the toenail. Pain is also associated with the infection which has the possibility to become serious and can be spread beyond the toe, especially if the immune system is depressed. This is most applicable to people who have AIDS, leukemia or those who have undergone organ transplant. Those who are taking medications can also have a suppressed immune system.
People with Diabetes
Diabetic people are more likely to become susceptible to complications from toenail fungus infection. This is because circulation in the feet become impaired as well as the nerves that go to the feet is also impaired. People with diabetes are also more prone in developing a bacterial skin infection that can become serious. The bacterial skin infection is called cellulitis. Those people who have immune deficiencies should consult their doctor immediately to avoid complications with toenail fungus and infection.
According to the National Library of Medicine, fungal paronychia is also listed as a complication of toenail fungal infections. Paronychia can cause the area around the toenail to swell and cause redness. Complications of paronychia are development of an abscess and spreading the infections to the bones, tendons and bloodstream.
The occurrence of toenail fungus repeatedly or toenail fungus that does not respond to any kind of treatment requires surgical removal to prevent the infection from coming back and spreading to other parts of the body.
It is that there are plenty of medications available in the market for treatment of toenail fungus. However, it is important to always keep the feet clean and dry. If you already have toenail fungus, then be sure to find the proper treatment to prevent further complications.