A common cause for yellow toenails is toenail fungus, however, it may be indicative of other conditions such as diabetes, psoriasis, yellow nail syndrome, lymphedema, lung problems, or jaundice. Fungal nail infections may also present symptoms such as thickened, hardened, and brittle nails, and the nail may even lift from the nail bed and emit a foul odor. Wearing shoes may cause pain or discomfort as well. This infection of the toenail (onychomycosis) is typically caused by the dermatophytes fungi in temperate climates, or non-dermatophytic moulds or candida in more tropical environments. Fungal nail infections may be brought on by exposure to the fungi that is living in public areas which are damp and warm such as communal showers, locker rooms, pools and gyms. Ill-fitting footwear, excessive sweating of the feet, brittle nails due to age, as well as injury, psoriasis, or other skin conditions may also increase a person’s risk for developing a fungal nail infection. Treating fungal nail infections is best handled by a podiatrist as the fungi are hearty and hard to kill entirely and promptly without professional care. If you have toenail fungus, make an appointment with a podiatrist. They may use prescription, oral and/or topical antifungal medications, laser therapy, as well as other treatments to help resolve your issue.
If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, contact Nrup Tolat, DPM of Atlanta Total Foot & Ankle Care. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
- Warped or oddly shaped nails
- Yellowish nails
- Loose/separated nail
- Buildup of bits and pieces of nail fragments under the nail
- Brittle, broken, thickened nail
If self-care strategies and over-the-counter medications does not help your fungus, your podiatrist may give you a prescription drug instead. Even if you find relief from your toenail fungus symptoms, you may experience a repeat infection in the future.
In order to prevent getting toenail fungus in the future, you should always make sure to wash your feet with soap and water. After washing, it is important to dry your feet thoroughly especially in between the toes. When trimming your toenails, be sure to trim straight across instead of in a rounded shape. It is crucial not to cover up discolored nails with nail polish because that will prevent your nail from being able to “breathe”.
In some cases, surgical procedure may be needed to remove the toenail fungus. Consult with your podiatrist about the best treatment options for your case of toenail fungus.