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Toenail Fungus (Onychomycosis) Signs and Symptoms


The signs and symptoms of toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, are often cosmetic in appearance without physical pain or discomfort.  The symptoms depend on which subtype form of toenail fungus is present and how far it has progressed.

In distal lateral subungual onychomycosis (DLSO), the nail begins to thicken and become cloudy.  In time, the nail bed will also thicken and harden.  Eventually, the nail separates from the nail bed.  The nail color can change to anywhere from white to brown.  The nail edge turns brittle or ragged.

Although the same infection process occurs with endonyx onychomycosis (EO) as DLSO, the only symptom is the nail color changes to milky white.  The nail bed does not thicken or harden and the nail does not eventually separate from the nail bed.

In proximal subungual onychomycosis (PSO), white spotting, streaking or discoloration begins at the fold of hard skin that overlaps the base and sides of the toenail (the “nail fold”) and gradually permeates the nail.  The white discoloration is adjacent to the cuticle, while the rest of the nail remains a normal color.

With white superficial onychomycosis (WSO), the nail roughens and crumbles easily.  The nail surface will also have small white patches that are speckled or powdery.

Toenail fungus caused by yeast infections can have many different symptoms.  If the yeast infection has become a chronic infection of the mucous membrane and skin, the entire nail may be infected, the nail bed thickens and hardens, nail bed inflammation is visible and the ends of the toes become rounded.

Dystrophic onychomycosis, which is any of the subtypes in a severe form, causes the nail to turn yellow-brown, opaque and thickened.

Advanced Disease Symptoms

If the disease has progressed to an advanced state, you may have difficulties walking and standing because of thickened or distorted toenails.  There may be a tingling or creeping sensation (“parathesia”).  A foul odor may become obvious.  Discomfort or pain may develop and your agility may be affected.  Many people experience severe emotional upset, such as embarrassment and loss of self-esteem.

Toenail Fungus Complications

If you suffer from diabetes or an autoimmune condition, the fungi can travel to produce infections in other areas of your body.  For diabetics, the combination of poor circulation and toenail fungus can cause nerve supply damage in their feet.  Immediate medical care is necessary to prevent toenail fungus from leading to serious complications.

Source by Gracie Calloway

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