Is it Toenail Fungus or Something Else?

Have you noticed that your toes don’t look as healthy and pretty are you’d like when you remove nail polish from your toenails? Or perhaps you’ve noticed that your nails look yellowed, have a white film on them, or that there is growth underneath your nail bed?

Any of these scenarios can be an indication that there is something wrong, and could possibly mean you are experiencing toenail fungus on your feet. On the other hand, if you notice any strange, out-of-place spot on your toes, you might assume it is toenail fungus, where it could actually be caused by a different condition. Spots or discolorations on or under a toenail could be bruises resulting from trauma to the nail, blood blisters, warts, or even subungual melanoma, so it’s important to have it professionally diagnosed by a doctor.

Keep reading for some tips for figuring out if you’re dealing with toenail fungus or something else.

Signs of Toenail Fungal Infection

Here are some signs to look for that may be indicative of toenail fungus:

Nail Color

The most obvious indicator of a toenail fungal infection is the color of your nails. Toenail fungus causes the affected area of your nails to turn a white-yellow or even a yellow-brown color. You might also notice that your nails have become dull and lack their usual shine.

An early indicator of what may be toenail fungus is finding a small white or yellow dot under the nail bed. As the fungal infection begins to spread, part of your toenail will typically begin to darken. You may also notice that the surrounding area of the nail may also become red and swollen.

Keep in mind, however, that there are a number of conditions that can look like a fungal infection, so it’s important to see a podiatrist to receive an official diagnosis and treatment.

Nail Shape

If you notice your toenails are becoming thick, dry, and even starting to crumble you may have a toenail fungal infection. The toenail can also become misshapen as it grows, or you may find that grooves or ridges may start appearing on the surface.

Your toenail may even begin to separate from the nail bed, and in some cases fall off completely, which can cause discomfort and is highly indicative of fungus.

Sensation of the Nail

While it isn’t common for toenail fungus to cause pain or discomfort, it is possible in certain cases. If you find you have pain in your toenails seek treatment from your doctor immediately so they can determine the root of the problem.

Types of Toenail Fungal Infections

Toenail fungal infections can usually be categorized into one of the following:

Distal Subungual Onychomycosis

This is the most common form of toenail fungal infection and typically occurs in the portion of the nail closer to the tip and on the underside of the nail. This infection may cause the nail to become thick, yellow, or brittle.

Endonyx Onychomycosis

People who have endonyx onychomycosis have fungus growing between the layers of the toenails. This type of fungus causes the toenails to have a milky white color and may be pitted or split. They typically won’t thicken or separate from the nail bed.

Proximal White Subungual Onychomycosis

This is a rare form of toenail fungus and is most commonly seen in people with weakened immune systems. The fungus enters the toenail through the cuticle and affects the part of the nail closer to the base, turning it a whitish color.

White Superficial Onychomycosis

This is another rare form of toenail fungus. It is caused by a type of fungus that grows on the superficial, or top, layers of the toenail. Symptoms include opaque, white areas on the toenail that may eventually spread to cover the entire nail. The nail will also become soft and crumbly in texture.

Candida Infection of the Nail

Candida can occur if there’s a break in the skin around the nail, which allows candida to enter and cause inflammation and infection. The nail may become thickened and separate from the nail bed if the infection persists.

Toenail fungus is a common infection that affects many people. The good news is you don’t have to live with a toenail fungal infection as there are many treatment options available. An early diagnosis and beginning treatment as soon as possible can prevent the infection from spreading or becoming worse. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for treatment.

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