I believe you have heard of fungal nail and you are wondering “what does toe nail fungus look like“. This post will share with you how to identify different types of toenail fungus infections by how they look and their symptoms especially in the early stage.
I also explain more about the dead toenail fungus, mild toenail fungus, black toenail fungus and how to treat them effectively and successfully.
In The Early Stages
There are many types of fungus causes and all of them have different symptoms and it helps to know the cause of your infection because it will be easy to treat it. Following are three common types of fungus and their signs at early stage.
Distal subungual infection
Is a common fungal nail infection that is developing in both fingernails and toenails. It is identified by jagged nail on the edges with white or yellow stripes across the nail and it attacks the nail bed and the nail cuticle.
White superficial infection
This type of fungal infection is usually found on the toenail and it attacks the top layer of the nail with white spots appearing on the nail and when it is left untreated for a long time the white spot covers the whole nail which becomes dry, brittle, cracked and may be flaky.
Proximal subungual infection
This is not a common fungal nail infection and it can affect both toenails and fingernails. It starts at the base of the nail and with time it spreads upward until it covers the whole nail. It is commonly found on people with compromised immune system and it can stem from minor injury on the nail and skin around it.
This fungal nail infection is caused by candida yeast, is commonly found on the fingernail and is mostly found on people who frequently soak their hands in water and is identified by cuticle around the nail swelling , becoming red, sometimes sensitive to touch and the nail may partially lift off the nail bed.
Under A Microscope
A picture says a thousands words!
When It’s Healing
Fungal nail infections have different signs when they are healing depending on the severity of the nail but the most important thing the nail infection will start to fade away and by seeing your nail becoming soft again and yellow or white patches on the nail will also fade away and the new nail will start to grow without fungal nail infection on it.
You will notice a healthy nail with original color at the base of the nail emerging without any discoloration and if the fungal infection was painful it will start to subside daily until it is comfortable to touch.
A Dead Toenail Fungus
Usually a dead toenail fungus is a sign of severe fungal nail infection and is easily identified by a very dry nail that is partially lifting off or worst, the nail has completely fallen off from the nail bed. Sometimes it has an unbearable pain and/or has a smell that is not bearable.
A Mild Toe Fungus
If you do not treat fungal nail infections on time your infection will be mild and it’s symptoms are growing sizes of white or yellow patches on the nail, if the discoloration was at the base of the nail it will start to grow to cover the entire nail, the cracks on the nail will start to be deep and sometimes fungal infection cause the nail to be thick and flaky.
Please note that sometimes fungal infection looks like is not becoming severe when you observe the nail until such time you realize that the nail infection was growing all along underneath the nail plate without being noticed.
Symptoms help us to identify the type of fungus that cause nail infection and it will be easy to choose the right medication. Following are symptoms that are commonly caused by above mentioned skin and nail disease. Please note that for people with weak immune system, diabetes and Hiv they need a thorough examination from head to toes because often they need advice diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health practitioner.
- Thickened, caused by debris building up under your nail
- Whitish, blackish to yellow-brown discoloration
- Brittle, crumbly or ragged
- Distorted in shape
- Smelling slightly foul
- Unbearable pain
- Jagged nails on the edge
- Nail lifting off the nail bed
A Black Toenail Fungus
As the name explains, this type of fungus is identified by a black spot on the toenail that looks like injury on the nail that caused blood to dry under the nail plate. It is sometimes caused by proximal subungual infection that causes the black spot to cover the whole infected nail making it unsightly and some patients make sure to use antifungal nail polish to hide this medical health condition.
If it does not get treatment on time, trichophyton will spread to the body and cause skin fungal infections like psoriasis, jock itch, ringworm and athlete’s foot.
If your fungal nail infection is caused by candida yeast it will cause skin around your nail to swell, become red and you might have unbearable pain but if it is caused by other fungi subungual onychomycosis like white superficial infection, proximal subungual infection or distal subungual infection you will notice white or yellow patches on the nail, jagged nail on the edges, dry and brittle nail.
What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Toenail Fungus?
Since there are many types of fungus causes such as candida yeast, molds and dermatophytes and different types of medications that might either kill all types of fungus causes or some of them it is imperative to get medical advice diagnosis or treatment from a qualified doctor.
The doctor may provide medical advice for treatments such as topical and oral antifungal medicines for both skin and fungal nail infections. The is no treatment that works 100% all the time for all types of fungal infections but there are medically reviewed products that kills more than 80% of fungal nail infections that is found in nails and skin area. Your doctor may prescribe medication for nail fungus.
When you are under treatment it is important to always be wearing flip flops at swimming pools, locker rooms and when you live with a person who has infection usually you need to take extra care because being in contact with this person may cause re-infection.