Toenail discoloration may indicate what type of fungus caused the infection. Toenail fungal infections are usually whitish in color; mold infections are brown and dermatophyte infections are yellow. Toenail fungus can cause toenails to turn yellow, reddish brown, green, or black. If left untreated, the infection will spread and the discolored area will enlarge.
Common causes of nail fungus include sweaty, wet feet, walking barefoot, cuts or scrapes near the nail, and inadequate foot hygiene. Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that can develop in the nail bed. It has a dark brown or black color and can be confused with toenail fungus or another toenail problem, such as a bruise. Melanoma is much less common than toenail fungus, but it can be fatal if is not detected in time.
If you have a dark, thick toenail, it's possible that it's a fungus on your toenails, which is usually caused by a type of fungus called dermatophytes. While that's the most likely reason, a fungal infection isn't the only reason why toenails may lose color; 50% of cases of nail diseases can be attributed to causes other than fungal or fungal infections, including other infections, illnesses, and injuries. The Food and Drug Administration has approved different types of laser treatments for toenail fungus. Both toenail fungus and melanoma can appear as a dark stripe on the toenail and can increase in size over time.
Unlike oral medications, many creams and topical antifungal agents have not been shown to be as effective in treating toenail fungus. Toenail fungus doesn't cure until a doctor can detect it in toenail clippings. If you notice a discoloration of your toenails, especially a yellowish shade, you may have the signs and symptoms of a fungal toenail infection (onychomycosis). Some sources state that you should expect to see results in a few days or weeks, while others state that over-the-counter medications are only for mild cases of toenail fungus. Commit to making this part of your daily routine for a good result.
You'll be thankful that you did the work to cure toenail fungus. Toenail fungus is more likely to cause a thickening of the toenail and a build-up of material underneath it. The doctor can confirm the diagnosis of toenail fungus by looking at the microscopic cutouts and of the melanoma through a biopsy. Older adults and people with diabetes, circulation problems, or a weakened immune system are more likely to have toenail fungus feet.
Diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and a weak immune system (especially because of HIV) can increase the risk of toenail fungus. However, a search for over-the-counter medications yields mixed results when it comes to treating toenail discoloration and nail fungus. In some cases, toenail fungus does not cause discomfort, although misshapen nails can be a problem when used shoes.