The Consequences of Ignoring a Toenail Fungus Infection

Shocked young woman looking at her toe nails through a magnifying glass.

Many otherwise healthy people may view toenail fungus as only a cosmetic issue. However, ignoring it could have serious health repercussions, including severe infections that hinder you from walking or worse.

What is Toenail Fungus?

Toenail fungus is an infection caused by fungi underlying the nail bed. It can also affect fingernails, but since it is more contagious in warm, moist environments like wet socks and shoes, it affects toenails more frequently.

The fungi typically enter the nail through a minor crack or cut. Older people are more prone to nail fungus because their nails get drier and more brittle as they age, making them more likely to break and let fungi in. Since nail fungus is highly contagious, it spreads from person to person very quickly. Wearing sandals or shower shoes in locker rooms or around moist, damp areas like pools is a good idea because you can get it through walking on wet surfaces, or anywhere else your bare feet come into contact with a surface where the fungus dwells.

Due to the fungus, your toenails may become thick, brittle, discolored and detached from the nail bed. Toenail fungus is a growing, living organism, so it could take some time before you notice any symptoms after coming into contact with it.

The Dangers of Leaving a Toenail Fungus Infection Untreated

Beyond ongoing discoloration and discomfort, neglecting to treat a toenail infected with fungus has serious consequences. If the fungus is given enough time to spread, it might infect the toe if it gets into the skin under the nail. The infection may then spread to other body regions. As a result, these infections may trigger a variety of other issues, such as:

  • A permanent loss of the infected nail
  • Discoloration of the affected nail
  • A resurgence of the infection
  • Infection spreading to other body parts and possibly the bloodstream
  • The development of cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection

If you think you have a fungal nail infection and have diabetes or another immune system condition, you must visit a podiatrist. People with diabetes or a weak immune system are more prone to getting an infection of the skin around the toenail and other potentially severe problems caused by toenail fungus.

Nail Fungus Treatment in Atlanta

If you have toenail fungus symptoms or suspect an infection, our nail fungus treatment specialists can help you. Contact our team at Medical Dermatology Specialists today to make an appointment and learn more about how to prevent, identify and treat toenail fungus.

Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
5730 Glenridge Dr, Suite T-100
Atlanta, GA 30328
(404) 939-9220

Monday – Thursday 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.