Even though we don’t talk about it much, toenail fungus is a lot more common than people think. It’s easy to catch and in many cases, will come back multiple times. If not treated correctly, toenail fungus can also cause painful complications in the feet.
The best thing you can do is treat your feet well so you don’t have to deal with the condition in the first place.
Typical Causes of Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungal infections generally develop when microorganisms known as dermatophytes take root in the nail. These organisms feed on the protein, keratin and so being in the toenail is an ideal environment for them. More rarely, they can be caused by yeasts and molds.
These are the factors that are likely to lead to a toenail fungus infection:
- Having sweaty feet
- Being older as you’re likely to have reduced circulation in the feet
- A history of or an untreated case of athlete’s foot
- Walking barefoot through damp communal areas such as swimming pools
- Constantly wearing ill-fitting shoes
- Having broken skin or a wound on the foot
- Having a skin condition like psoriasis
- Having diabetes, a compromised immune system, or poor circulation
It should also be noted that while an infection can spread from one toe to the other, it’s rare for you to catch it from someone else.
The Signs You Should Know
Usually, persons who’ve been afflicted with toenail fungus will have the following signs:
- Thickened nails
- Nails that have become distorted in shape
- Discolored nails
- A dark build-up under the nails
- Nails that have become brittle, ragged, or crumbly
- A slightly foul odor coming from the nail
If you’re not paying attention to your feet, it’s possible to miss the beginning of an infection so make sure to inspect your nails weekly to see what’s going on. Persons who wear nail polish regularly should check out their nails thoroughly in between applications.
How to Prevent Toenail Fungus
The key to preventing toenail fungus is keeping your feet clean and dry. The fungus will not thrive in an environment that doesn’t promote its growth. Here are a few suggestions.