Top 5 Signs Your Toenail Fungus May Have Escalated to an Infection

Nov 03, 2023

While toenail fungus is not necessarily a serious or pressing health issue, it can be frustrating to look at your feet and see yellowing or discolored toenails — whether it’s sandal season or not.

It can take a lot of effort on your part to keep a full-blown toenail fungus infection at bay, so our team, led by Alex Stewart, DPM, FACFAS and Antonius Su, DPM at Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists of Arizona in Chandler, Arizona, wants to give you some insight on how to prevent toenail fungus and how to recognize the signs that you’ve got an infection on your hands.

What is toenail fungus?

Fungal spores are everywhere, and they thrive in warm, damp environments — meaning your feet are especially vulnerable to them. When these spores land on your toenail, they can grow and start to not only feed on the nail tissues but also burrow under the nail.

As the fungus debris starts to accumulate, it can cause your toenail to change color or even thicken and then start to lift off the nail bed. Once that toenail has detached, it won’t be able to grow back.

Symptoms of infected toenail fungus

You may not always realize right away that you’re dealing with a fungal infection, so we want to give you some telltale signs that you’ve got a case of toenail fungus:

  1. Your toenails turn yellow or brown
  2. Your toenails look chalky or cloudy
  3. Your toenails take on a brittle texture
  4. Your toenails start to crack and break
  5. Your toenails lift from the nail bed

While toenail fungus doesn’t typically cause any pain, you may start to have some pain once the nail starts separating. 

Treating toenail fungal infections

It’s well known that toenail fungus is extremely hard to get rid of. However, if it’s left untreated, it can lead to severe foot pain, complete loss of nails, and even a widespread infection known as cellulitis. 

With that in mind, we want to give you some treatment ideas to address your toenail fungus. It may not go away completely, but it will keep more serious complications at bay.

Common treatments to begin with include topical creams or even oral antibiotics. If the fungus still doesn’t seem to be responding to these more conservative treatments, we may move on to other treatments such as laser therapy to eradicate stubborn fungal spores.

If you suspect that you’re dealing with toenail fungus, come in and see our team so we can evaluate it and give you tips for proper treatment and future prevention. You can schedule an appointment with us by giving us a call at 480-963-9000 or by using our online booking tool today.