The Dangers of Toenail Fungus You Should Never Ignore

Amanda Roberts is a professional blogger and a podiatry student. She is an enthusiast who loves to write on several niches, particularly in foot health, including plantar fasciitis, toenail fungus, foot massage and reflexology. Read more about her blog posts on foot health at Feet Remedies.

Toenail fungus affects both men and women in equal proportions. However, when it comes to the female population, this particular type of infection is even more discomforting.

This is because having healthy toenails is particularly important for women, especially during the summer.

When the toenails are healthy, they can represent a display of personal taste and preferences.

On the other hand, a fungal infection can modify the shape, color and texture of the toenails.

Left untreated, it can happen that the toenail becomes detached from its bed or that the infection spread.

Keep on reading and discover more information on the dangers of toenail fungus.

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Why Should You Be Concerned About Such Fungal Infections?

According to a scientific review published in the Journal of Fungi, there are different types of fungal infections that can affect the toenails.

Each presents its own set of clinical features, as well as certain dangers that women should always be aware of.

These are the main dangers to take into consideration (source):
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    The infection invades the surface under the nail plate, increasing the risk of that toenail being lost (detachment).
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    Excision of the affected part might be necessary, due to the fungi being located under the nail (longer recovery).
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    Increased nail fragility, especially when the nail invasion is deep.
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    Partial or complete destruction of the nail plate (nail loss).
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    Severe inflammation can accompany the infection (reduced functionality in the affected toes).
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    Massive invasion at the level of the nail plate (high risk of nail loss).
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    Splitting can occur as a complication (once again, high risk of nail loss).
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    Increased friability of one or several toenails, suggestive of a severe infection (high risk of nail loss).

What Happens When We Ignore The Dangers Of Toenail Fungus?

According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology, onychomycosis (scientific name for the fungal infection) accounts for approximately half of all existent nail infections.

However, many people, including women, are unaware that they suffer for such an infection or they are ashamed to recognize its presence.

They end up ignoring the symptoms and hiding their toenails under a generous coat of nail polish.

But what happens when we ignore the dangers of toenail fungus?

First and foremost, toenail fungus can affect the functionality of the toes and, when spreading, of the foot (source).

In severe cases, pain is a common occurrence and this prevents the person in question from properly placing the foot on different surfaces. This will lead to an abnormal gait and, in time, to problems with the spine.

In the situation that the immune system is compromised, as a result of pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes or HIV, the risk of the infection spreading to the rest of the body becomes considerably higher.

In case of diabetes, the circulatory problems can favor the spread of fungal infections.

Moreover, there is always the risk of additional infections appearing in the area, increasing the risk of nail loss and other severe complications.

The combination of a fungal infection with a bacterial one, particularly in patients who are immuno-compromised, can prove out to be more dangerous than one can imagine.

This is because the harmful bacteria will enter the body through the site of the fungal infection; if it reaches the blood, it can cause severe infections and increases the risk of foot ulcers and gangrene (source).

Aesthetics Matter Too

Women love to paint their toenails, especially during the summer. In case of a fungal infection, the affected toenails will modify their shape, texture and color.

In this situation, you might feel ashamed to show your toenails, preferring to change your footwear.

Aesthetics are rather important and this is why you should consider seeking out treatment as soon as you possibly can.

Also, it is never a good idea to try and hide the fungal infection under several layers of nail polish.

This will only make the infection worse, prolonging the healing period.

Toenail Fungus Prevention

These are a couple of simple measures you can take, in order to avoid the appearance of such fungal infections:

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    Do not share objects of personal hygiene with other people.
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    Only visit reputable salons for pedicures and ask the hygienist to sterilize the instruments in front of you.
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    Avoid cutting your cuticles, as this can favor such infections.
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    Change your footwear on a regular basis and throw out old shoes.
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    Wear socks made from cotton, as these can absorb excess sweat.

Final word

Toenail fungus might seem like something you can overlook but, given the existent risks, you should never treat it lightly.

If you have noticed specific changes at the level of one or several toenails, make sure you visit a dermatologist as soon as it is possible.

Apart from the recommended treatment, you might also want to maintain a strict hygiene.

This will help you stimulate the faster healing of the affected toenails, plus it will prevent the appearances of new infections.

And, remember, it might take a long period of time before you get rid of this infection, so arm yourself with a lot of patience.