Toenail Fungal infections are also known as Onychomycosis, the infection hides under the nail bed and makes its way to other nails on the foot. The organism is microscopic so it is possible to have an infection and not know until symptoms present. The foot, and under the nail are the ideal breeding ground for the fungus. Fungi love dark, and moist environments and feed off of the tissue under the nail. Debris will collect under the nail from the fungal growth. This is what causes the nail to thicken and become discolored or potentially fall off. If the nail falls off it cannot be reattached, but it can re-grow. The infection is spread by fungal spores, the spores can be airborne. Often fungal infections can go unnoticed. Other skin conditions or damage to the nail can hide fungal infections. Therefore it is important to be aware of any changes to the nail. The only way to fully diagnose toenail fungus is to see a podiatrist and have a sample taken of the toenail for lab testing. This will identify which type of fungus is causing the problem. Different types of fungus should be approached differently in the treatment and aftercare process to prevent regrowth of the fungus. Managing toenail fungus without medical help can be very expensive and time consuming with the extension over the counter options available.
The best option is to try to maintain good hygiene and to consult with a podiatrist if changes on the nails occur, such as your toenails become thicker or begin to yellow.