A fungal toenail infection can range from a mild inconvenience to a severe problem that can even lead to the amputation of a toe. A mild infection can oftentimes be treated with home remedies, but be certain to carefully monitor the situation to check for signs of spreading.
A mild toenail infection will have the following symptoms:
- Lines and spots— White lines or spots will be visible on the surface of the nail
- Thick, brittle nails—Nails will appear thicker and may become very brittle
- Softening—The surface of the nail may also take on a powdery, soft appearance
Mild toenail fungus can often be successfully eradicated using topical treatments and other remedies like tea tree oil. If the infection continues to worsen, you will see the nail lifting away from the nail bed, along with the following advanced symptoms:
- Severe discoloration, usually brown, yellow, or gray
- Raised ridges on the toenail
- More severe thickening
- A scaly appearance on the skin around the nail
- Strong nail odor
- Pain when wearing shoes or other footwear
Severe systemic illnesses such as a faulty immune system, nerve damage from diabetes, or poor blood circulation can increase the risk of developing a fungal nail infection.
If you don’t seek treatment for fungal nail infections, the following outcomes may result:
- Complete removal of the nail may be necessary to fight the infection
- A fungal infection can spread to other areas of the body
- Your blood can become poisoned which can be a life-threatening condition
- You may have to suffer the amputation of one or more of your toes
If you are concerned that a fungal nail infection may be causing you health problems, it is important to see a podiatrist for proper care. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists can help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems like sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.