Onychomycosis, which is also known as toenail fungus, might seem like a small cosmetic problem at first glance in the area of podiatry. Still, health professionals are warning that ignoring this seemingly unimportant matter could lead to major health issues.
Dr. Peter Joseph, a podiatrist with Allegheny Health Network, talks about the risks of not treating heel fungus. He warns that the effects aren’t just on the skin and can include a number of health issues, starting with pain while doing normal things.
When a nail gets infected, it gets thicker and deformed, which hurts the foot. This is one of the main problems. It can be hard to walk, especially when you have shoes on. Additionally, toenail fungus that is not handled can lead to athlete’s foot, which is marked by red, itchy, and cracked skin. The fungus grows quickly because it likes the warm, damp conditions inside shoes.
Also, Dr. Joseph brings up the idea of a spreading infection, which is very dangerous, especially for people with weak immune systems like diabetics. Cellulitis is an infection of the skin caused by germs that can be very bad if not treated. The fungus can get under the skin and make people sick in this way. In the worst cases, infections can even get into the bloodstream.
Onycholysis, or the toenail coming off the nail bed, is another problem that can happen because of toenail fungus. If regular treatments don’t work, the hurt part of the nail may need to be cut off or even the whole nail may need to be avulsed.
Dr. Joseph tells people to see a doctor right away if they think they have a fungal problem in their toenails, stressing how important it is to act quickly. As part of the diagnosis process, a small piece of toenail is looked at to prove the presence of the fungus. Antifungal drugs have very few side effects and can be taken by mouth or put on the skin.
In less serious situations where the infection doesn’t hurt, some doctors may decide to let it go and watch how it grows on the infected nail. The growth might not get worse, but it also might not go away by itself. In some cases, a small amount of medicine may be offered to help with cosmetic problems.
So, the main point is that toenail fungus is a very bad disease that you should not ignore. To keep your feet healthy and avoid problems and pain, you need to get an early analysis and quick treatment. It is recommended that people who think they might have a fungal problem in their toenails see a doctor right away.