Fungus Nails may not always be very harmful to you. If your condition is mild and not bothering you, you may not need treatment. However, if it is painful and has caused your nails to thicken, self-care steps and medications may help you. Though with Nail fungus, it can always return.
Various symptoms could occur. They are many different types of symptoms. It all depends on what kind of fungal nail infection you have. They can usually start from mild and get more serious. These are the following symptoms that may occur if you have a fungal infection.
- At first, It may only be visible as a white or yellow spot under your nail. But over time, It can spread and turn your entire nail white, green, yellow, or black.
- The thickness of your nail increases, and it could be hard to trim.
- Your nail may curl up or down or even loosen from the bed of your nail.
- It could become soft and brittle. This could make it crumble easily.
- The nail could get misshapen, and you can smell the fungus on the nail.
It’s easy to ignore fungal nail infections at first since you may not have any pain. But if you don’t treat them, it can hurt to put any pressure on the area. If an infection gets bad enough, it could even become hard to walk. However, many other conditions are mistaken for fungus nails, such as:
1. Ridges and Lines:
This is the most common condition that is mistaken for fungal nails.
2. Senile nails:
Senile nails are caused by age. As you grow older, your nails become more brittle, and you end up developing ridges and separation of the nail layer.
3. Whitish or yellowish nails:
These can occur due to onycholysis. This means the separation of the nail from the nail bed.
4. Red or black nails:
These occur due to a hematoma or blood under the nail, usually from trauma. You can trim off the discolored area as it will grow out with the nail.
5. Green nails:
These can be caused by Pseudomonas bacteria, which grow under a nail. It is separated from the nail bed only partially. This infection can also cause a foul odor of the nails.
6. Pitted nails:
These may be associated with psoriasis or other skin problems that affect the nail matrix, the area under the skin just behind the nail.
7. Swelling and redness:
The swelling and redness of the skin around the nail are called paronychia. This is an infection of the skin at the bottom of the nail. If the condition is acute, it is usually caused by bacteria.
8. Chronic nail trauma:
Chronic nail trauma, such as repeatedly starting and stopping, kicking, and other athletic endeavors, can cause damage to the nails that can look a lot like fungal nails. In addition, some traumas may cause permanent changes that may mimic the appearance of fungal nails.
If you do have nail fungus, there are a few ways that it can be treated. However, it is best to visit your podiatrist near you if something does happen. Below are the treatments that you could use:
1. Oral antifungals.
One way to kill the fungus is to take the antifungal pills that the doctor prescribes to you. This is usually the best and most effective option available, and the treatment lasts for two months if it is an infection in your fingernails or three months if it is an infection in your toenails.
2. Topical antifungals.
Another option you can choose is topical antifungals. These are medicines that you rub or brush onto your nails. They can work for most mild infections but can’t go deep enough to cure more severe conditions. Therefore, it’s best to use a combination of topical and oral antifungal treatments.
If the medicine treatments don’t work, there is always the option to have surgery. The doctor will remove the nail entirely and let a new healthy nail grow back in its place. But, unfortunately, the new nail could also get infected.
4. Laser or photodynamic therapy.
Doctors are studying newer treatments that use a special light to try to kill the fungus.
Another option that is better than treatment is to be ready before anything happens and take preventative actions to protect your nails from the fungus. Here are some preventative steps you can take to keep your nails fungus free:
- You can prevent it by washing your hands and feet often. Make sure to use soap and get it in between your fingers and toes.
- You can also use antifungal powder or sprays on your feet as well as in your shoes before wearing them.
- Make sure to throw away any old pair of shoes that you have. There might be fungi living in them.
- Always keep your nails short and trimmed this way. No fungi can fester on them.