Onychomycosis, better known as fungal nail infection (or just nail fungus), is the most common nail disease affecting adults -- and one of the hardest to cure. The reason being is that dermatophytes, the fungus causing infection, is extremely prevalent in our environment, and as a result, is easy to contract and even harder to exterminate.
If you think you’re suffering from nail fungus, take the following 4 Step Check to see if your symptoms match those common to fungal nail infections. And of course, always check with your doctor to be sure.
The Nail Fungus 4 Step Check
1) Is my nail yellowish, discolored, or dull in appearance?
One of the first signs of nail fungus is in the nail’s appearance. Infected nails tend to look yellow, discolored, and generally unhealthy. You may also see debris build up as the nail continues to grow.
2) Does my nail appear thickened, brittle, or distorted in shape?
As the infection progresses, nails often harden and become brittle. They may start to chip and become distorted in shape and appearance as well. If your nail hardens or chips without trauma, this may be a sign of nail fungus.
3) Is my nail painful or sensitive?
Pain isn’t always associated with a fungal nail infection, but it certainly can be. As the nail thickens and becomes brittle, wearing shoes as well as exercising, walking, and even standing in some cases can irritate the nail and cause pain. Infected nails can separate from the nail bed (a condition called onycholysis), also causing discomfort.
4) Does my nail give off a foul odor?
Granted, smelling your toes isn’t the easiest thing to do, but infected toenails can give off a distinctly foul odor. If accompanied by any of the above symptoms, you may have a fungal nail infection.
Nail fungus affects individuals differently, and every symptom may not be present for there to be an infection. But if you recognize some of the symptoms above, you may be dealing with nail fungus. Even for such a pesky and unsightly ailment, take comfort in knowing there are affordable and effective ways to relieve the symptoms of nail fungus that can get you back on your feet (or toes) in no time.