Is It Toenail Fungus Or Damaged Nail Bed?

If you’ve never had a damaged nail bed before, you probably have no idea what it looks like. The same goes for toenail fungus.

If your nails appear unhealthy – for instance, they start to change color, they appear thicker or are rougher than usual – this can be a sign that you either have a toenail fungus or damaged nail bed.

But how do you tell the difference between the two? A very mild case of tinea unguium, or toenail fungus, can present itself like a damaged nail bed.

In this post, we help you distinguish between the two without having to visit a doctor. We outline the signs and symptoms of each condition as well as why they happen in the first place. We also arm you with tips on how to treat each condition so you can avoid further damage to your nails.

Do I have toenail fungus?

toenail fungus or damaged nail bed

Toenail fungus is not a joke. If you’ve never had it before, you may not understand how nasty it is. First off, it’s totally embarrassing. If you care about the appearance of your feet, toenail fungus can make you very self-conscious. For instance, if you’re going to the beach, you might feel insecure walking around in slippers. The same goes for when you are in a public swimming pool.

Even worse, toenail fungus can cause severe damage to your nailbed if early treatment is not sought. If left untreated, the infection becomes worse. And it won’t go away on its own. In fact, it will spread to other toes, and all your toenails will become thicker, crumbly and deformed. So, it’s recommended that you seek treatment as early as possible.

What does toenail fungus look like?

Toenail fungus exhibits a variety of symptoms that may help you identify it. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Thicker toenails. If you have toenail fungus, your toenails will be slightly thicker than usual
  • Yellowing of toenails. Instead of the usual pink color of your nails, toenail fungus will make your nails turn whitish, yellowish or light brownish
  • Deformed and crumbly toenails. Instead of your toenails being smooth and pliable, the fungus will make them ragged, crumbly and brittle
  • Disfigured toenails. Your toenails may curve slightly to either the right side or the left side, especially after they begin to crumble
  • Foul smelling toenails. You may also notice that your toenails emit an unusual foul smell

What is a damaged nail bed?

Honestly speaking, toenail injury can lead to a damaged nail bed. But generally, a damaged nail bed is as a result of blunt trauma to the toenail. Just like blunt trauma to other parts of your body, you’ll be left with ugly marks which differentiate it from other conditions. It is easy to spot the difference between a damaged nail bed and toenail fungus, especially if it is caused by blunt trauma.

The other kind of damaged nail bed is caused by repeated stress on the toenails. This could be as a result of ill-fitting shoes. You might think that shoes that do not fit well are no real problem, but they get very uncomfortable overtime, and can have significant damage on your toenails.

What does a damaged nail bed look like?

As mentioned above, bruising is a common symptom of a damaged nail bed. This appears as a large spot underneath the nail, rather than within the nail. Like blunt trauma to any other parts of the body, you’ll have bruising and discoloration. Blood pools beneath the nail and turns to a reddish color.

Depending on the cause of damage, you may also have nail laceration. This is where your nail is torn in pieces in one or more areas. Again, the nail appears red and if the wound is deep enough, there will be a scar. Your nail may also be deformed.

How to treat toenail fungus

Toenail fungus isn’t so easy to treat, but it is treatable. There are hundreds of anti-fungal nail products in the market that can be used to treat this condition. One of the best oils that is usually used to treat toenail fungus is tea tree oil. It has powerful antifungal, antibacterial, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate pain, prevent infection and kill the fungus.

How to treat a damaged nail bed

The main aim of treating a damaged nail bed is to restore the injured nail to its previous condition. If there is a pool of blood under the nail, it is drained through a small hole in the nail. This helps relieve pressure and reduce pain. If there’s severe injury, surgery may be required.


Disclaimer: Pedi Reviews does not provide medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only. All suggestions on this site should be discussed with your doctor or podiatrist and should not be used as visitor’s sole source of information.

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