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If you have noticed that you have dark toenails, it could be a sign of a fungal infection. Nail fungus can cause a noticeable discoloration of your toenails and if you notice this type of discoloration, you should look into treatment options.
How did I get nail fungus?
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First, you should know that this infection and resultant dark toenails are not caused by poor hygiene. It is relatively simple to pick up a nail fungus infection, you just need to think about what activities you have been doing. Have you been to a pool lately? Walking around with bare feet in a location, such as a pool, can be the catalyst. Soon you notice that you have dark toenails, and realize you need to treat this infection.
If you do not treat your dark toenails caused by infection, it is very possible that it will spread to all of the toes on your foot and soon to the other foot. Your risk is increased if you already have a history of such infections, an impaired immune system or poor blood circulation. As we age, we also tend to be at risk for these types of infections.
How can I prevent infection?
There are some simple steps you can take to prevent fungal infection and the resulting dark toenails:
*Do not wear shoes that are too tight.
*Avoid shoes that cause your feet to become hot and sweaty.
*Allow shoes to dry out before wearing them again if they have become wet.
*Do not share items such as socks, nail clippers or nail files.
*Avoid injuring your toenails.
*Don t smoke.
*Do not use nail polish.
Should I see my doctor?
Dark toenails in themselves are not a reason to call your doctor; however, if you have a lot of pain, heat or tenderness, discharge of pus, a fever or red streaks in the area of your feet, these are signs of serious bacterial infection.
Can I treat this infection myself?
There are many very reliable products on the market that you can use to treat your dark toenails at home, without the need to visit a doctor. The main thing to keep in mind with these treatments is to follow the directions carefully and do not discontinue use, even if you see an improvement before you have used the product for the recommended amount of time. If you discontinue the use of a product, you may have another occurrence of infection.