The key sign you're looking for is new, healthy growth at the base of the nail bed. Fungal toenails often cause a thickening of the nail. Nail fungus is a common nail infection. It starts as a white or yellow-brown spot under the tip of the fingernail or toenail.
As the fungal infection deepens, the nail may discolor, thicken, and crumble at the edge. Nail fungus can affect several nails. To find out if a patient has nail fungus, a dermatologist examines the nails and nearby skin. It's important to check your skin because the fungus can spread.
You may already have a skin infection caused by fungi, such as athlete's foot. Antifungal pills also work faster than medications that are applied to the nails. Taking antifungal pills for two months can cure an infection under the nails. Usually, three months of treatment will cure a fungal toenail infection.
If your toenails are cracked, discolored, thicker than they should be, or hurt, you might wonder if you have a fungal nail infection. While there are other problems that can affect how your nails look or feel, one of the most common causes is a fungal infection. Your healthcare provider will likely take a small sample from under your fingernail for further analysis. Looking at the cells under a microscope can confirm the diagnosis of toenail fungus.
If the initial test is negative, a sample can be sent to see if the fungus grows in a crop. This also helps your healthcare provider identify the type of fungus. Talk to your healthcare provider about the advantages and disadvantages of treating toenail fungus to determine what is best for you. A small case of toenail fungus is practically a rite of passage: you quickly learn not to walk barefoot in a changing room or in a shared shower area and to always wear clean socks.
Toenail fungus occurs when fungi get between the toenail and the toenail bed (the tissue just below the toenail). Humid, warm environments breed fungi like crazy, and the nail bed is a sweet home when it comes to toenail fungus. Toenail fungus is twice as common in diabetic feet, and severe cases, along with complications, can lead to amputations. Your healthcare provider will direct a high-tech laser beam and special lights to your toenail to treat the fungus.
The most effective toenail fungus treatment for you will largely depend on your symptoms and situation.