Toenail Fungus Symptoms
The first symptom of a toenail fungus infection is usually discoloration of the nail. The nail may develop white, yellow or brown patches. In some cases the nail may become brittle and appear chipped. There may also be flakey, scaly skin surrounding the infected nail.
The classic symptoms of a toenail fungus infection are:
â€¢ Thickened nails
â€¢ Brittle, crumbly or ragged nails
â€¢ Nails that are distorted in shape
â€¢ Yellow, green or black nails
â€¢ Pain in and around the nail bed
Infected nails sometimes separate from the nail bed which can lead to serious problems. A toenail infection that has an unpleasant odor may be in advanced stages and you should see a doctor immediately. If the infection is severe, you will have significant pain and will find it difficult to walk.
The two most common types of nail fungus infections are dermatophytes and yeast. Dermatophytes is the most common infection that affects toenails and yeast seems to be the major culprit in fingernail fungus cases.
If left untreated a fingernail fungus infection can cause permanent damage to the nails, leaving them ragged and distorted. It is possible for you to lose the nail if the infection becomes severe. The fungus can spread to the skin around your nails causing paronychia, a surface infection of the skin around the nails. Paronychia can cause painful lesions, redness, swelling and pus-filled blisters. You can avoid the pain of and embarrassment of paronychia by treating your nail fungus in its early stages.
Thickening of the nails is another symptom of toenail fungus infection. If your nails thicken, you may find it difficult to wear shoes. Sometimes thickening leads to an ingrown toenail which can be painful and limit mobility.
The type of treatment plan you choose depends upon the severity of your symptoms and your personal preferences. Some people prefer to try home remedies before consulting a physician for prescription medications.
Pharmaceutical treatments that are used to treat nail fungus include oral medications such as Sporonax, Diflucan and Lamisil. These medicines can help you grow a nail that is free from fungus. These oral medications are typically used for three months but it can take up to a year for a new nail to grow.
For effective treatment, it is important to address nail fungus symptoms when they first appear.