Our nails are something we don’t think about much. While some of us like to decorate our nails, that’s really the extent of the attention we pay to them. However, issues with your nails can be extremely inconvenient, not to mention uncomfortable and, at times, extremely painful.
If you’ve noticed that your nail is looking a little strange, off colour or if it’s feeling painful, this could be a sign of a fungal infection. You can get help for this condition from Any Time Doctor (anytimedoctor.co.uk) for example, but it’s important that you understand how to spot the signs yourself.
Colour and Texture
If you suspect that you might have a fungal nail infection, the first thing you’re going to need to look at is the colour of the nail itself. Healthy nails are pink, with a small white patch at the base. However, infected nails will change colour, and this is usually the first sign that something isn’t quite right.
If the infection is in the early stages, you may notice a small white, yellow or brown spot on your nail. As it gets worse, this can spread to cover the entire nail, leaving it looking completely white or discoloured.
You should also pay attention to the texture of your nails. Rather than being smooth, infected nails can feel rough or even crumbly, with the nail disintegrating as the infection sets in.
The Skin Around the Nail
Fungal infections don’t just affect your nails, they can also impact the skin in the immediate area. While an infected nail might look white, the skin surrounding it can look red and inflamed.
This is the result of your body attempting to fight the infection, but it can be incredibly painful. If it’s your toenail that’s infected, you could find it difficult to stand or walk. If it’s your finger, your dexterity may be affected.
In extreme cases, your nail could even lift and become removed from the nail bed. This can be extremely painful and is why it’s so important to address fungal nail infections as quickly as possible.
How to Prevent Fungal Nail Infections
Prevention is the best approach when it comes to fungal nail infections. The condition, known as onychomycosis, is caused by a fungus that thrives in wet, damp environments. This is why it’s so common on toenails, as our feet are wrapped up in socks and shoes all day.
Always make sure you wear fresh, clean socks every day, and throw out old shoes regularly. Whenever possible, air your feet to prevent potential fungal build-up, and make sure you always keep them clean and dry.
Make sure you always wear shoes that fit well. Wearing shoes that are too small can make your feet too hot, the perfect environment for fungus, and can also cause a number of other potential health issues.
Fungal nail infections are rarely serious, but they can be extremely painful if left untreated. Prevention is the best measure, care for your nails and you should keep fungal infections at bay. If you do suspect you have succumbed to a fungal nail infection, speak to a healthcare professional as soon as you can.