Stinky toenails can be distressing for many people. This is a condition that can be caused by toenail fungus infection. Toenail fungus can generally feel embarrassing, shameful, and uncomfortable. It is common to feel uncomfortable showing your toes at all because of toenail fungus and the visual changes that it can cause. Because of this, people with toenail fungus often stop going to the beach, or stop wearing sandals. This can harm the quality of people’s lives, and is often the worst part about toenail fungus. When people have stinky toenails because of fungus, it can cause even more embarrassment, shame, and discomfort. Bad smell can be more noticeable than visual changes in the nail’s surface, and comments on a bad odor are often more common than on visual things like discolored toenails.


If you have a problem with stinky toenails, you may be wondering what is causing them. The smell of the nails is caused by toenail fungus or onychomycosis. The fungal organisms themselves infect under the nail and then can grow and proliferate. The funky odor is caused by the fungal organisms under the nail bed. When the nail comes into contact with a fungal spore in the environment, the spores can take this opportunity to infect the nail bed. Once the initial infection with the fungus occurs, certain people are more prone to the spores developing and growing faster. Particularly, fungal growth is worse in people who wear closed toed shoes, exercise frequently, or sweat excessively. Fungal spores grow very easily in moist, dark environments like sweaty feet. 


The cause of stinky toenails can be pinned down to fungus by a few things. For one, the smell that toenail fungus causes usually smells similar to cheese. If you have noticed that there is a cheesy odor emanating from your nails, it is likely that toenail fungus could be a cause of it. Fungal smell also tends to get worse when the nails are trimmed. Nail clippers free up fungus from the toenail into the environment, which is the reason why fungal toenails smell worse after trimming them. A big sign of a fungal toenail smell is the presence of other visual signs of a fungal infection. If you have discolored toenails that are black, white, yellow, or brown, a fungal infection is probable. Fungal infections can also cause the nail to detach from where it connects to the nail bed, and also cause them to become brittle, hard, crumbly, or cracked. Debris buildup under the nail is also common, which can be a cause of the smell. These signs can help you narrow down the cause of your infections, but to get a diagnosis you must be seen by a medical professional. Licensed doctors who specialize in feet, also known as podiatrists, are the best professionals to seek care from.


Stinky toenails that aren’t treated will get worse and worse. Fungal growth will continue by itself in absence of a proper medical intervention. To prevent the smell coming from your nails becoming worse, you should seek an FDA-approved medical treatment from a licensed podiatrist. They are trained to provide you with treatment for the fungal infection that is safe and effective. Trying to cure toenail fungus at home is a bad idea: at home treatments tend to be ineffective, and usually futile. Some recommended DIY treatments can be very harmful, like using bleach on the toenail. Seeking medical treatment for a smelly toenail problem is a much better option. A medical professional will be able to diagnose your fungus and recommend the best treatment option for you.


However, not all treatments and prescriptions for stinky toenails are made the same. Topical treatments, for example, are very ineffective at curing the fungus. Topical medications, both over the counter and prescription, are ineffective at penetrating the nail into the nail bed well enough to eliminate the fungus. They need to be made relatively weak to prevent bad reactions to the chemicals in them, which means that the amount of medication that can get to the nail bed isn’t very strong. Oral antifungals are another prescription medication option, but these pills come with more serious side effects. They have a big risk of toxic damage like damage to the liver, and are unsafe for many patients. Because of this, blood screenings are even required before and during their course to try and ensure that the antifungal drugs aren’t causing severe harm. These treatments are fairly ineffective at treating the fungus as well. Because of this, you may require taking multiple courses of the medications to see any results at all, which is frustrating and further increases the risk of side effects.


Stinky toenails can thankfully be treated in other ways that aren’t topical or oral antifungal medications. Some of the best options for treating a fungal infection don’t include chemicals at all! The safest treatment for toenail fungus is the PinPointe laser, which has no down time or risk of major side effects like liver toxicity. Additionally, this laser is the most effective laser on the market to treat toenail fungus. The treatment only requires one session to completely eliminate the fungus, so most patients don’t need to come in for multiple treatments. This laser treatment also has great reviews, and patients are generally very satisfied with their results. To read more about the experiences patients have had with the PinPointe laser treatment, visit our website here.