Is Toenail Fungus Dangerous?

It may seem odd to have to visit a podiatrist in Austin, TX for a case of toenail fungus. After all, in summer, many people often get toenail fungus. In fact, though, toenail fungus can become a dangerous condition if left untreated.

What is Toenail Fungus?

The official name for toenail fungus is onychomycosis. It is a fungal infection that can become widespread, affecting the toenails and surrounding tissue. It occurs when fungi begins growing between the nailbed tissue and the nail, typically taking hold through a small cut or fissure in the toe. Toenail fungus is quite common, especially in summer, when feet are less likely to be protected. It’s also more common in older folks who may pay less attention to the health of their feet.

Is Toenail Fungus Dangerous?

Toenail fungus needs to be treated. It rarely just goes away on its own. Left untreated, it can become more troublesome and even dangerous in certain circumstances. Here are some possible results of untreated toenail fungus:

Pain and Discomfort

Toenail fungus often leaves toenails discolored and misshapen. It can cause the nail to thicken or even separate from the nail bed. This can make the wearing of shoes difficult or even painful. The nail may even fall off altogether.

Athlete’s Feet

When toenail fungus is allowed to spread, untreated, it often develops into a full-blown case of athlete’s feet. This is a painful condition that results in blistering, red and flaky skin. It leaves the skin on the feet very vulnerable to further infection.

Wider Infection

In persons with underlying conditions such as diabetes, toenail fungus can result in a widespread infection that threatens overall health. This may end up causing cellulite, which needs antibiotic treatment. The infection could even enter the bloodstream, where it can become life-threatening.

If you suspect that you may need treatment for toenail fungus in Austin, TX, see your podiatrist immediately. Don’t try to rely on over-the-counter medication that may mask symptoms but not get rid of the fungus. Contact us for help.

Serious Warnings About Foot Fungus

Your podiatrist in Austin wants you to know how serious foot fungus can be. Rather than ignore this potentially serious condition, it’s important to recognize the warnings about foot fungus so you can get appropriate treatment when necessary.

What is Foot Fungus?

Foot fungus includes any fungus that presents on any part of the foot or toenails. The most widely known type of foot fungus is Athlete’s Foot, but there are many types of foot fungus to be aware of. If you have the signs of foot fungus, you should contact your Austin podiatrist for a professional diagnosis and treatment. Foot fungus is a fungal infection caused by microscopic fungi. In the case of toenail fungus, the fungi are called dermatophytes. Dermatophytes are so small that they can enter the skin through open areas such as blisters, skin cracks, cuts and small scrapes. A small, painless foot wound that you might not even notice provides plenty of opportunity for dermatophytes to get under the skin. In the case of Athlete’s Foot, this condition is another type of fungal condition called tinea pedis. While some kinds of foot fungus may seem relatively harmless, foot fungus can lead to terrible consequences if left untreated.

Serious Warnings About Foot Fungus

First of all, the symptoms of Athlete’s Foot and toenail fungus should not be ignored. The problem lies in self-diagnosing at home. Often, what you think can be treated with some home remedy actually needs professional treatment. Fungus is a very resilient growth. You may think you’ve gotten rid of it, but it can return even worse than it was before. When you consider that the symptoms of a foot fungus can lead to infection or even worse, you realize that you should always get any kind of foot fungus treated by a podiatrist.

Symptoms of Foot Fungus

Symptoms of foot fungus include:

  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Flaking skin
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Cracks in the skin
  • Blackening of the skin or toenails
  • Crumbling toenails
  • Foul odor
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Nail separating from nail bed
  • Thickening or curling of the nail
  • Itching that cannot be satisfied

Remember that fungus is a growth that can survive in dark, moist conditions; just like when you wear socks and shoes. If you want to get rid of your foot fungus for good, contact your Austin podiatrist to book your appointment.