The Risks of Ignoring Fungal Infections


Onychomycosis, often known as toenail fungus, may only appear to be a small aesthetic issue, but if neglected, it can have detrimental effects on one’s health. A podiatrist from Allegheny Health Network, Dr. Peter Joseph, warns that ignoring an infected toenail could have a lot of unfavorable consequences.

One possible problem is having uncomfortable feet. Walking becomes painful and challenging as the fungus spreads, especially when wearing shoes, due to the thickening and misalignment of the diseased nail.

Athletes’ feet can also result from untreated toenail fungus because it can spread to nearby skin and result in red, itchy, and cracked skin. The fungus can grow and spread best in the warm, wet conditions present within shoes.

The possibility of a widespread infection is even more worrisome because it poses a significant risk, particularly for people with compromised immune systems like those who have diabetes. Infected skin cracks from the fungus can develop into cellulitis, a potentially dangerous bacterial skin condition. If the infection is severe enough, it may enter the bloodstream and prove fatal.


Onycholysis, a condition in which the toenail breaks from the nail bed, is also a result of a fungus infection. Rarely, it can be necessary to remove the damaged section of the nail. Avulsion of the entire nail or a matrix ectomy, which eliminates the nail’s developing core at the base, may be necessary in some cases if conventional therapy is unsuccessful.

Dr. Joseph advises visiting a doctor if there is a suspicion of an infection since he is aware of the significance of receiving medical attention for toenail fungal infections. It is possible to determine if the fungus is present by examining a small portion of the toenail. Antifungal drugs that can be taken orally or used topically are among the treatment options available once a condition has been identified. These drugs generally have little side effects and are well tolerated.

Some doctors might choose to take a wait-and-see strategy in small cases that don’t cause discomfort, keeping an eye on the infected nail over time. The fungus might not become worse even though it is unlikely to go away on its own. A small amount of medication could be recommended in some circumstances to treat cosmetic issues.

The most crucial lesson to learn from this is to take toenail fungus seriously. Complications, discomfort, and the preservation of healthy feet can all be prevented with early diagnosis and effective treatment. Therefore, do not be reluctant to seek professional guidance from a healthcare provider if you suspect a toenail fungal infection.

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