Top 5 Signs Your Toenail Fungus May Have Escalated To An Infection

You may be surprised to know it’s perfectly normal to have various types of fungus living on your skin. Along with bacteria, fungal colonies live all over your body. But your feet have the highest amount of fungal diversity on your body. This, along with the warm, moist environment created by your shoes, can lead to an overgrowth of fungus, known as a fungal infection.

The good news is, if you have a fungal infection, Jeffrey Kleis, DPM, at his self-titled practice in  Costa Mesa, California, can offer several treatments to cure it, including laser removal. To know whether you have a fungal infection, read on learn the signs you should look for.

1. Discoloration

One of the first signs you will likely notice when you have a fungal infection is a discoloration of your toenail. The discoloration will likely be subtle at first, such as a small spot of white or dark yellow. This may be at the base of the nail, at the tip, or in a corner. Over time, the spot will likely grow in size and get darker, becoming gray, brown, green, or black. This darkening usually occurs when debris builds up under the infected area.

2. Brittle toenails

With time, a fungal infection will affect the health and strength of your toenails. They will likely become brittle or flakey, because the fungus feeds on keratin, the protein that makes your nails strong. You may also notice that the tip of your nail crumbles when you try to trim your toenails. Furthermore, you may see cracks running from the tip of your nail toward the base.

3. Foul odor

Over time, the fungus will produce waste material that will build up beneath your nails. Because the infection may cause your nails to separate from their nail beds, it is easier for dead skin and waste products to get stuck beneath your nails, creating foul scents. If you smell a scent of decay or any other abnormal odor while cleaning or clipping your toenails, you may have an infection.

4. Thickened toenails

Healthy toenails are thin but strong. Unhealthy toenails often thicken due to a variety of factors. If you notice one toenail is thicker than the others, or all of your toenails are becoming thicker, you should have your toenails inspected by Dr. Kleis. Thick nails can also be caused by foot trauma, foot diseases, and ill-fitting shoes, so it’s not always a sign of a fungal infection. However, when combined with other signs of a fungal infection, it can be a good indicator.

5. Pain or discomfort

It is common for pain or discomfort to be one of the last symptoms of a fungal infection. Some men and women can have a fungal infection for years before they experience discomfort. However, the changing shape of your toenails and the thickening and breaking of your toenails can cause them to dig into the skin around your toenail, which can be painful.

Fungal infections, which are fairly common, do not go away on their own. If you have an infection, you should treat it as soon as possible to avoid a severe infection. If you notice you have any of the above symptoms, book an appointment online or over the phone with Jeffrey Kleis, DPM today.

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