A toenail fungal infection is an infection that is caused by the fungus on the toenails. To be more specific, it is an infection of the nail bed, nail plate, or both. The nail plate is that hard and translucent part of the nail that you can see. The nail bed is what runs under the nail plate. It is what anchors the nail plate to the toe itself. When all these become infected, the nail may change in color; it may also become thick, crack, and crumble, and at times it may even lift off the nail bed.
The medical term for this condition is onychomycosis. This condition can occur in both fingernails and toenails, but this fungal infection is ten times more likely to occur in toenails compared to fingernails. The reason for this is that the toenails grow slower, receive less blood supply, and more often end up in dark and moist environments when compared to fingernails.
4Symptoms of the Toenail Fungus Infection
The big toe is the most easily affected by a toenail fungal infection. The infection often starts at the side edge or front of the nail. It may first occur as a nail spot or a small part at the edge. However, it may eventually cover the entire nail. The infection may spread from the toenails to the other toenails. The most common symptoms of this infection include nail changes or distortions, nail thickening making it hard to trim, foul odor coming from the infected nail, nails becoming brittle, cracked, split, ragged, and crumbly, the nail being detached and lifting off the nail bed, and the nail having white, brown, or yellow discoloration.
A toenail fungus infection may not be painful particularly for mild cases. It may stay this way for years. Pain may be felt once the nail becomes thick and damaged or when the infection gets worse. This will make it hard for one to walk or wear closed-toe shoes.