Black Toenails Fungus: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
It’s quite a disconcerting sight to look down at your feet and see black toenails. It’s even more alarming when they’re brittle, distorted, thickened and dull. Why are your toenails black? Are they trying to tell you something or ruin your social life?
The answer to these questions is in most cases quite simple, and nothing to be alarmed about. In general blackened toenails are the result a fungal infection.
What Is A Nail Fungus Infection?
A nail fungus infection (onychomycosis) may affect one or more of your nails. The infection may start off as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your toenails but will spread deeper into the nails as the fungus spreads. At this point, the nails would begin to thicken, become brittle, crumbly and discolored. This unsightly, and potentially painful, condition could be treated successfully with medication but may recur.
Nail fungus and can affect pretty much everyone, male or female, adult or child, young or old, healthy or unhealthy. The spores, which cause the infection, are widespread so anyone could be at risk. However, people who sweat a lot are more predisposed to develop an infection beneath their toenails. This is because fungus thrives in moist places and the sweat, dead skin, and dirt supply everything the spores need to settle in and grow.
Black toenails are common for runners and people who walk a lot. The repeated stress on the toes in the tight, closed and dark space of the running shoes provide the idyllic atmosphere for attracting the fungi, molds and yeasts known to cause toenail infections. However, nail fungal infections can also be the result of walking around barefoot in gyms, locker rooms, public and home showers and other damp places.
Some other common triggers for toenail infections include:
- Ill-fitting footwear
- Non-breathable socks, shoes and hosiery
- Diabetes, immune diseases and complications with the circulatory system
- Poor hygiene practices at nail saloons
- Too many layers of toenail polish
If you’re not guilty of any of the causes mentioned above, your black toenails could be a sign of something else – perhaps you dropped something heavy on the toe, or maybe it’s a sign that you’re developing a melanoma. Have your feet inspected, by a podiatrist, to eliminate doubt and address any potential problems early.
Black, white or yellow spots under your nails are the first signs of nail fungus. As the fungus spreads, the nails will become thickened and flaky. The symptoms are not life threatening, but the physical appearance of the nail can be embarrassing to the point that you’ll always want to keep them covered.
Since fungus can spread easily, picking at your toenails could cause the fungus to spread to your fingernails.
All symptoms of a nail infection are apparent and will include:
- Discoloration and darkening of the nails
- Foul smelling odor
- Crumbling toenails
- Hard or thick nails
- Tenderness in the affected toes
- Buildup of debris under the nails
- Mild to severe pain
- Separation of nails from the nail bed.
The sight of your less than desirable black toenails will make you want to get rid of them immediately. Nothing is more frustrating at that point than using solutions that don’t work. You’ll need to use a top rated black toenail fungus treatment to get back to your clear and infection-free nails.
The efficacy of conventional treatments is questionable, and you should think twice before going this route.
Oral antifungal medications are more effective than over the counter creams, but the negative side effects are not worth the trouble. These side effects range from skin rashes to liver damage, the results of which arise from taking oral medications over a course of 6-12 weeks. The more popular medications are Diflucan, Lamisil and Sporanox. Ask your doctor for a prescription if you’re willing to risk the side effects.
Some people drift towards natural treatment forms in order to avoid risky side effects. Some natural solutions include soaking your feet in Listerine solution or rubbing Vicks Vapor Rub on the nails.
Oils like lavender oil, olive oil, Jojoba oil, and tea tree oils are also known to provide some relief because of the antiseptic and antifungal properties of the oils. Results are not guaranteed when the oils are used individually, and it could take some time before you see any improvements with herbal treatments.
What Works Best For Treating Black Toenails
Treating black toenails is difficult, as you’ve probably discovered. The treatment method either takes too long or doesn’t keep the fungus away for good. Medications like Funginix and Zetaclear are growing in popularity due to their effectiveness.
They are antifungal solutions, on steroids if you will, that will clear up the infection faster than all other forms of treatment. Funginix especially has been tested to prove its effectiveness on a wide range of fungal infections, and has provided satisfactory results on all of them. Fungus cannot hold up against the combination of camphor, tea tree oil, rose hip flower, and menthol used as ingredients in Funginix.
Funginix is all natural and applied topically, so you’ll escape the dangerous side effects of other drugs, and it will attack the fungus at the site only. You can learn more about these nonprescription products that are proven to be effective without the negative side effects on the homepage.
Of course, you should keep in mind that the effectiveness of any treatment depends on the degree of the infection and other physical factors like your size, fluid intake, and lifestyle.
Apart from the medication, you should also trim your nails regularly to keep them short. Dry your feet well after every shower, use absorbent socks and throw out old shoes that might be a breeding ground for fungal spores.