Toenail Infection; a Comprehensive Overview of Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A little-known condition among most people, toenail fungus is a fungal infection of the toenails characterized by white or yellow spots. In most cases, the condition is not severe, tends to heal naturally with time, and can hence go unnoticed the whole time. However, in severe cases, the symptoms can grow and manifest themselves with time, necessitating medications and at-home healing remedies.
Here is a comprehensive overview of toenail infection.
Causes and symptoms of toenail fungus
This infection is caused by fungi, which are tiny microorganisms that thrive in dark, warm, and moist environments. In most cases, moisture and warm temperatures in the toenails resulting from failure to wash and dry well attract these fungi. In other cases, injuries on the nail bed may expose blood capillaries, making them susceptible to infection by fungus and other pathogens.
There are few signs and symptoms of a toenail fungus infection, and they are all manifested in the nails. They include:
• A foul smell from the toes
• Broken, detached, or injured nail beds
• White or yellow spots under the nails
• Dark pigments caused by the collection of dirt under the nails
• Nails that are not even in shape but rather rugged
• Nails that do not have a natural shine or glow
• Thickened nails
Where the nail bed is injured or detached, the patient may feel some mild pain upon contact with other objects.
Home remedies for toenail fungus infections
There are some popular and effective home remedies for mild cases of toenail fungus. To start with, proper hygiene is recommended. This should be characterized by regular cleaning of the feet using clean water and disinfectants, followed by thorough drying to ensure traces of moisture are not left behind.
You can also easily file off the white and yellow spots on the nails using a nail file and then cleanse with disinfectants and anti-fungal medications.
When a visit to the doctor becomes necessary
Severe cases of toenail fungus may necessitate a trip to the doctor for expert diagnosis and treatment. Here, the doctor checks the toenails to determine the cause of infection and administers the right medications accordingly.
Depending on the severity of the condition, the doctor may prescribe oral or topical medication. For instant results, a minor surgery may be performed where the doctor extracts the infected toenails and medication applied before replacing the nail with an artificial one or covering the open space.
However, several measures can be taken to prevent toenail fungus infection in the first place rather than remedying it. These include:
• Wearing shoes at all times to avoid injuries to the nail beds
• Washing and drying feet thoroughly
• Clipping toenails to the base to stop them from protruding outwards and sideways
• Wearing spacious socks to avoid build-up of moisture
• Not applying nail polish and other nail beauty products such as clear nail polish, which may cause toenail fungus
These measures should be repeated every day to ensure that fungi and other pathogens do not collect around the toenails.
In ordinary circumstances, toenail fungus is mild and can be easily treated at home or even disappear on its own with time.
However, where the symptoms are prominent and accompanied by some mild pain, a visit to the doctor is recommended for accurate and effective treatment.


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