Although toenail fungus is unsightly, you may not be too concerned about it if you keep your feet hidden in your shoes. However, there are important reasons you should see a podiatrist to have your toenail treated. Toenail fungus can be more than just a cosmetic problem. Here are some complications you might face if you don't treat the nail.
The Fungus Can Spread
The fungus that infects toenails spreads easily. That's why you can pick it up by going barefoot in public places. When you have a fungal infection in your toenail, it may stay limited to your nail, or it could spread. It might spread to other family members or it might spread on your body. If the fungus gets between your toes, it makes your feet itch and feel miserable.
Fungal infections of your toes and feet can be difficult to get rid of since your feet usually stay warm and moist all day. When you touch your infected toenail or feet, the fungus gets on your fingers. You can spread the fungus to other areas of your body that are likely to stay warm and moist such as folds of your skin or under your fingernails. Having an infection under your toenail is bad enough, you don't want it to spread elsewhere on your body.
You Might Lose A Toenail
Sometimes, when an infection is bad enough or when it just won't clear up, it is necessary to remove the toenail so medication can reach the nail bed. Nails grow back sometimes, but sometimes they don't. A missing toenail can make you self-conscious too, so the better option is to try to treat the infection before you toenail falls off or has to be removed.
The Infection Could Become Dangerous
While fungal infections of the toenails are usually harmless, they can sometimes become dangerous. This happens if the infection gets in a cut in your skin and spreads to your bloodstream. This is more likely to happen when you have an immune system disorder or a condition such as diabetes. If you have a medical condition that requires you to take special precautions with your feet, then you should see a foot specialist at the first sign of a toenail infection so it can be treated before it causes serious consequences.
Your podiatrist has different options for treating a toenail infection so even if over-the-counter treatments have failed, a podiatrist can still help. You may need prescription-strength medications, surgery, or laser treatments to eliminate the fungal growth. For more information, check out http://www.betterfootcareohio.com.