Although somewhat disconcerting, a black toenail fungus is very treatable. It may be that you have had some issues with your feet in the past, or that you had some sort of fungal infection previously. Whatever the case, a black toenail fungus can be very difficult to ignore because of its appearance and the associated pain and discomfort.
How do you determine if you have an actually black toenail fungus infection and that it is not simply an injury? Thinking about what has taken place in the last few months can help. First, did you smash your foot somehow? If you take a closer look at your feet, you can determine if this is an injury or an infection. If it is simply an injury and not black toenail fungus, there will be no changes to the nail or surrounding skin that are noticeable. While the nail itself may be tender or sore, there will be no thickening of the nail. The nail will not be crumbly or streaky.
If; however, you have a black toenail fungus, the nail itself will have some noticeable changes. You may have some pain associated with the infection or not. The appearance of the nail will change, noticeably. It may be that you have some debris under and around the nail. This is caused by changes in the texture of the nail which are brought on by the infection. Such an infection will cause the nail to crumble, soften and thicken. If the infection is quite severe, the nail might actually separate from the nail bed and you may notice streaking or other changes in color.
If there is any pain associated with your nail, you may have a very severe infection. If you have a fever or pus coming from the affected area, you should immediately see a medical professional, because these are signs of severe infection. Most people will not let their black toenail fungus get to this point; however, it is not uncommon for elderly people or people who have other underlying conditions to suffer from a very serious infection.
Although prevention is the best option for a black toenail fungus infection, it is not always possible. Certain underlying conditions can make people susceptible to recurring infections or very severe ones. The most important thing to do is identify the infection and seek treatment as quickly as possible to prevent a more severe infection or the spread of it.