If your toenails haven't been looking quite the same lately, the changes in their appearance could be due to a fungus. However, there is no need to question your personal hygiene. Toenail fungus does not occur due to a lack of cleanliness.
Most people encounter toenail fungus in public areas, such as locker rooms. Fungi grow best in areas that are warm, moist and dark, such as the spaces between your toes. In addition, fungal infections are often contagious. As a result, the athlete's foot fungus is relatively common among people who regularly participate in sports.
The same fungus that results in athlete's foot can also cause a toenail fungal infection. Here are a few details about toenail fungus to help explain what to expect from an infection and how to avoid one:
What to Expect From a Toenail Fungal Infection
A toenail infection is often accompanied by several symptoms. Here are a few indications that you may have a toenail fungus:
- Brown nails. Infected toenails may yellow or become brown.
- Brittle toenails. The nails may also break or crumble easily.
- Thickened toenails. An infected nail may become thicker, especially at the end that is farthest away from the nail bed.
- Crumbly debris beneath the toenail. The fungus may cause a buildup of brown or beige debris beneath the thickened nail.
- White blotches on top of the toenail. In some instances, white blotches appear on the top of an infected nail.
Sometimes, toenail symptoms can be misleading. As a result, it is important to have a toenail fungus diagnosed by a foot doctor.
Avoiding a Toenail Fungus
If you are concerned that you may develop a toenail fungus, there may be steps that you can take to avoid an infection. Here are a few preventive measures that you can take:
- Wear flip-flops or shower shoes in the locker room. Try not to allow the skin of your feet to make contact with the floor.
- Keep your feet dry. Wear shoes with good ventilation, and if your socks become wet or damp with sweat, change them.
- Don't share nailcare tools. Nail tools can spread a fungal infection from one person to another. If you regularly get pedicures, confirm that the nail shop properly disinfects its tools between uses.
For more information about toenail fungus and how to avoid an infection, schedule a consultation with a foot doctor in your local area. Check out a website like http://www.westmorelandfootdoctor.com for more information and assistance.