Toenail Fungus

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The Symptoms of Foot or Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus infection, medically known as Onychomycosis, is the most common toenail disorder, the cause of nearly 50% of all toenail problems. While it can also affect fingernails, such infections are comparatively rare compared to toenail infections, which affect 12% of all Americans according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Fungal toenail infections can be identified by the following symptoms:

  • Yellowed or cloudy discoloration of the nail plate
  • A thickened nail plate
  • Rough, ragged, or brittle nails
  • A nail separated from the nail bed (known as onycholysis)

In severe cases, the following symptoms can also be seen:

  • Nails become misshapen or distorted
  • Nails turn a dark color (caused by buildup of debris under the nail)

Note that toenail fungus infections don’t usually cause pain except in the most severe of cases. The primary notable symptoms are in the toenail appearance and odor.

The very first signs you might notice are tiny white or yellow spots under the tip of your toenail. Toenail infections can last indefinitely if not treated and can lead to other complications, so call your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms to get the problem taken care of.

Fungal infection of the feet often leads to toenail infections. Such foot skin infections are generally referred to as athlete’s foot or tinea pedis. This disorder is quite contagious and does not require direct contact to pass to another person; it is often picked up in warm, damp places where people commonly go barefoot, such as in communal showers or locker rooms.

The most common symptoms of athlete’s foot are:

  • Cracked, flaky, or peeling skin
  • On occasion, itchiness or redness

Other symptoms can include:

  • Burning
  • Blistering
  • Oozing
  • Crusting

As with toenail fungus infections, if you notice symptoms of athlete’s foot you should contact your doctor to take care of the infection quickly.