Nasty smelling toenails can be a factor causing insecurity and nuisance for people. Smell is generally considered to be linked to hygiene practice by people, so feeling like you have a noticeable smell from your toenails can be embarrassing. People may also avoid being around you if your feet or toenails smell badly, since it is uncomfortable to be around people that have a noticeable odor. Normally a smell caused by poor hygiene and washing practices can be washed away or otherwise treated, but bad smelling toenails can be more complicated to cure. When the toenails themselves are smelly, a toenail fungus may be the reason behind the smell. 

Nasty smelling toenails frequently develop because of an infection from contagious fungal spores. Fungal infections of the nails are common, and spread between people in close proximity to each other easily. The fungus is very contagious, so it can be difficult to pinpoint where the fungus originated from. The mystery of the origin of the condition can cause people to assume that the fungal smell is caused by a lack of cleanliness, or improper feet washing. While it is easy to come to that conclusion, toenail fungus can infect even the cleanest of people. The spores are infectious organisms that grow because of their ability to find new hosts, and they could potentially infect any nail bed. While immune disease can make it easier for the fungus to proliferate while under the nail, this is a condition that can develop in anyone. 

Nasty smelling toenails can be worse in certain environments as well. Fungal organisms love environments that are dark and moist, so the summer is their favorite time to breed and grow. Shoes and socks are more sweaty and humid during this time which allows the fungus to thrive. The smell coming from the nail infection will become more and more strong as the fungus grows more. Additionally, the climate of summer makes any bad smell stronger. Hot weather will make scents project over further distances, so the nasty smell under your toes will be worse on a hot summer day.

To find out if your nasty smelling toenails are from fungal infection or not, there are a few places you can look. Firstly, if the smell isn’t coming from the skin of the foot but rather the nail itself, this is a sign that a toenail fungus could be causal. Additionally, nasty smelling feet caused by other reasons should smell better after a thorough wash with soap and warm water. Wash your feet well in the shower every day to see if this improves the smell of your feet. If not, fungus could be the reason. Just washing your feet won’t remove the fungus from under the nail bed and the scent will still be there because of that. Also try and notice if the smell from your feet gets worse after you trim your nails. The fungus grows in the nail bed, so grooming the nails can dislodge fungal debris into the environment.

Nasty smelling toenails from fungus have multiple treatment options that are available to try. Using options like deodorant or scented antiperspirant can be helpful for temporary improvement, but to permanently improve the nasty smell you will need to address the cause of the issue itself. However, treating the fungus from under your nail bed isn’t an easy task, and it is common to become frustrated with many of the options available for treatment. Common treatment options for fungus often have many downsides, so using them can feel pointless. For example, over the counter topical medications for fungus are often very ineffective at treating the fungus. Prescription topical medications are also available and slightly more effective, but they still sometimes a year or longer to see any results, if they ever appear at all. Oral antifungal medications prescribed by doctors are more effective than those topical medications, but also carry severe risk of bodily damage. These medications pass through the blood to arrive at the nail bed, passing through the liver in the process. While in the liver they can cause severe toxicity, which can be especially dangerous for people with pre-existing conditions that affect liver function. For this reason, oral medications can require blood screenings before and during treatment.

While many treatments have a lot of downsides, nasty smelling toenails can be treated in a safer, more effective way. Laser treatments like the PinPointe laser use a safe amount of heat instead of any antifungal chemicals to kill the fungus. The PinPointe laser doesn’t carry risk of major side effects, and is safe for even many people with pre-existing conditions. The PinPointe laser only requires one treatment, making it more effective than any other fungus treatment available. You can schedule an appointment for consultation with one of our licensed podiatrists at 1-(800) 672-0625. To learn more about the laser itself and how it works, you can also visit our website for more information.