Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, may only seem to be a minor aesthetic problem, but if left untreated, it can have serious negative repercussions on one’s health. Dr. Peter Joseph, a podiatrist at Allegheny Health Network, issues a warning that there may be a lot of negative effects if an infected toenail is ignored.
Uncomfortable feet are one potential issue. Walking becomes awkward and difficult, especially while wearing shoes, due to the thickness and misshaping of the infected nail as the fungus progresses.
Untreated toenail fungus can also cause athlete’s foot because it can migrate to the neighboring skin and create red, itchy, and cracked skin. The warm, moist environment found within shoes is ideal for the fungus to thrive in and spread.
The likelihood of a widespread infection is even more concerning as it offers a major risk, especially for those with weakened immune systems like those with diabetes. The fungus can enter the skin and cause cracks, which can lead to cellulitis, a bacterial skin illness that can be fatal. It is possible for the infection to enter the bloodstream and prove lethal if it is serious enough.
A fungus infection can also cause onycholysis, a disease in which the toenail splits from the nail bed. It could be required in rare cases to remove the damaged portion of the nail. In some situations, if traditional therapies are failed, avulsion of the entire nail or a matrix ectomy, which removes the nail’s growing core at the base, may be required.
Since he is aware of the significance of seeking medical care for toenail fungal infections, Dr. Joseph advocates seeing a doctor if there is a suspicion of an infection. Analyzing a little piece of the toenail can reveal whether the fungus is present. Once a disease has been discovered, therapy options include antifungal medications that can be either orally or used topically. These medications are frequently well tolerated and have few side effects.
In minor cases that don’t cause pain, some doctors could opt for a wait-and-see approach, monitoring the infected nail over time. Even while the fungus is unlikely to go away on its own, it might not get worse. In certain cases, a little dose of medication could be suggested to treat aesthetic problems.
The most important thing to take up from this is that toenail fungus shouldn’t be ignored. With early diagnosis and efficient treatment, complications, discomfort, and the maintenance of healthy feet can all be avoided. Therefore, if you suspect a toenail fungal infection, do not hesitate to seek professional advice from a healthcare professional.