How to Tell if You Have a Toenail Fungus

How to Tell if You Have a Toenail Fungus

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Microscopic fungi are everywhere. Gyms, pools, locker rooms, hot tubs, and saunas provide excellent breeding grounds for fungal infections. If you walk barefoot in a locker room and then immediately put on socks, those fungi can reproduce exponentially on your feet and toes.

Your toes are responsible to help you balance as you stand, walk, and run – so proper foot care is crucial as they bear the entire weight of your body every day. If toenails are showing a sudden change, it’s a good idea to seek a doctor’s opinion.

Toenail fungal infections are more common in older people. This is due to their reduced blood flow and the fact that their nails are growing more slowly, allowing more time for fungi to grow unhindered.

Signs of Toenail Fungus

A change in the toenails could indicate a fungus. Symptoms can include:

  • Thickening of the nails
  • Nails emanating a foul odor
  • Change in coloration or texture
  • Nail begins to crumble or feels brittle
  • Feels painful
  • Nail starts to separate from its bed

A first sign is usually a yellow or white spot underneath the tip of the nail. This spreads from there, going deeper and spreading to other toes.

What Causes a Fungal Infection in the Feet?

If your feet are damp or sweaty, fungi can take root under the nails of the toes. Common causes of toenail fungus include the dermatophyte fungus, mold, yeast, or simply athlete’s foot (tinea pedis).

Additional factors can contribute to a toenail infection, such as trauma to the nail, lack of daily hygiene, and certain vascular diseases. If you regularly swim in a pool, the continual exposure to water can increase your risk of fungal exposure.

How to Prevent Toenail Fungus

The easiest way to combat toenail fungus is to change your socks and shoes often, especially after exercising. Whenever you’re in any kind of communal setting involving wet feet, like a locker room, wear flip-flops and avoid exposing your bare feet to any common surface.

It's always a good idea to wash your feet with antibacterial soap. When exercising, wear shoes that allow for proper ventilation and wear socks that are made with a breathable or wicking material.

Orthopedic Doctors for Foot Care

Many people don’t realize just how vital proper foot care really is until they have an infection that’s difficult to treat. The medical professionals at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence realize how important caring for each and every part of the body is to maintaining the body in top condition. 

We are an Official Orthopaedic Medicine Provider of the Olympics as an Olympic Training Center. We achieved this designation because our team is specially trained in treating sports injuries, including issues involving the feet, muscles, and joints.

Our team offers top-notch medical care and state-of-the-art techniques and technologies – diagnosing and treating professional athletes and amateurs alike – right here in Colorado Springs.

Call us today at (719) 623-1050 to schedule an appointment, or fill out our simple online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you get back on your feet again!