Even though they initially appear to be unimportant health issues, toenail fungal infections can have serious consequences if left untreated. Medical professionals are bringing attention to the possible risks of ignoring these common diseases as summer is in full swing and more people expose their feet to open-toed footwear.

Onychomycosis, another name for toenail fungal infections, is when fungi such dermatophytes, yeasts, or moulds infiltrate the nails and cause thickness, deformation, and discoloration. Because the illness often thrives in warm, humid climates, sweaty shoes and feet make the perfect settings for fungus to proliferate.

Foot and ankle specialist Dr. Emily Parker issues the following warning: “Toenail fungal infections may initially appear to be a minor aesthetic problem, but if left untreated, they can develop into more significant consequences over time. Unfortunately, a lot of people dismiss the warning signs in the hopes that the situation will go away.

The risk of the infection spreading to nearby nails or other body regions is one of the main risks of untreated toenail fungal infections. Athlete’s foot, a condition characterised by itching, redness, and cracking of the skin between the toes, can also result from the fungus invading the skin.

The infected toenail may grow more fragile and discoloured as the illness worsens, increasing its susceptibility to painful breaks or cracks. It is possible for the entire nail to separate from the nail bed in rare circumstances, leaving the toe open to secondary bacterial infections.

Additionally, people with pre-existing medical issues like diabetes or weakened immune systems are more likely to experience serious problems. According to Dr. Parker, “For diabetic patients, a toenail fungal infection can be particularly concerning, as it may lead to foot ulcers or even serious infections that can result in amputation if not managed promptly.”

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Despite the risks, many patients turn to over-the-counter medications or home remedies that frequently only offer short-term relief and ignore the underlying fungal infection. Experts advise people who exhibit signs of toenail fungal infections to contact a doctor for a proper diagnosis and course of treatment.

Treatment methods range from topical lotions to nail lacquers made expressly to fight fungal infections to oral antifungal drugs. Surgery to remove the infected nail may be required in more extreme situations.

The following advice is offered by specialists to help prevent toenail fungal infections:

Keep your feet dry and clean, especially after taking a shower or swimming.
Avoid wearing wet socks or shoes for prolonged periods of time and choose for comfortable shoes that allow air to circulate.
Trim nails regularly in a straight line, being careful not to get them too close to the skin.
In public showers, locker rooms and pool areas, put on flip-flops or sandals.
Avoid lending other people your nail clippers, files, or other nail care supplies.
In conclusion, it is important to recognise the risks associated with disregarding toenail fungal infections. To avoid potential problems and maintain general foot health, early detection and appropriate treatment are essential. To get the right treatment and advice, it’s critical to seek medical advice as soon as you suspect a toenail fungal infection.

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