How to Tell the Difference Between Toenail Fungus and Injury
To the untrained eye, there’s little difference in the appearance of a toenail that’s injured (or badly bruised) and one that’s infected by a type of fungus. In this post, we aim to help you to quickly and easily tell the two conditions apart.
People bump their toes into things all the time, and tight footwear can also cause trauma to the nail, resulting in pain and discoloration. If your nail has a fungal infection, the toenail will turn black. You’ll likely notice similar visual symptoms when you injure your nail(s).
So, how do you tell the difference between fungus and bruising? You can always ask a podiatrist if you’re unsure, but this is very unlikely to be necessary. There are some tell-tale signs when fungus has infected the nail bed that will enable you to form a fast and accurate self-diagnosis. We’ll provide more information on that shortly.
We’ll be covering the key differences between toenail injury and fungus. Once you know what’s wrong, we’ll provide you with some easy-to-follow advice on how to get healthy-looking nails again, and how long a complete recovery is likely to take. So, let’s take a closer look.
Table of Contents:
What Causes Injury or Bruising to the Toenails?
- Perhaps you’ve hit your toe/nail on something, such as a chair leg when you’re not wearing shoes? You’ll likely know if that’s the case.
- Wearing steel toe boots can also cause trauma. The constant rubbing of the toes on the steel can cause damage to both your toes and the nail. This can cause pain, and can even result in thick and tough toenails, as your body is trying to protect itself from harm.
- Your nail can also get hurt by wearing shoes that are too big, or too small. If they are too big, your feet have room to slide around in the shoes. Your toes will hit against the shoe and may become irritated and swollen. If the shoes are too small, the toes will be crammed against each other. The nail itself can get damaged by hitting the toe of the shoe constantly. The chances of hurting the nails are even greater when you walk a lot or play sports. The constant rubbing against the shoe can cause further damage.
How to Recover from an Injured Toenail
- Apply cream to the area if it’s weeping. This will help to clear up a bacterial infection.
- Let your feet breathe when you’re not at work. Try wearing sandals or flip-flops, rather than shoes, when you’re at home in the evening.
- To avoid any further injury, make sure to wear proper-fitting shoes. You may need to go to a shoe store where there are people who can properly measure your foot so that you get the perfect fit. This will ensure that your toes won’t be damaged by your shoes.
Is Your Nail Infected by Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus is easy to catch if you frequent public areas like swimming pools, saunas, gym showers, and locker rooms. You can even get toenail fungus from a nail salon if they don’t disinfect their equipment well after treating/assisting each client.
Here are some quick ways to tell if you have a fungal infection:
- Toenail has black spots or started yellowing
- Debris is visible underneath the nail bed
- There’s an unpleasant odor
- Nails have started to thicken
- The toenails look dull and lifeless
- Toenails have started to crumble
- Edges of the nail appear to be jagged
- Malformation of the nail
- Toenail separation from the nail bed
If your toenail is bruised, it will likely hurt. Early toenail fungus doesn’t tend to cause much/any pain. That’s one of the main reasons why people delay treatment. It seems logical that everything will sort itself out if you give it time to heal, but that’s not the case.
If you do have the fungus, you should get treatment as soon as possible. This is because fungus grows fast, and when you start to see signs of it, it is already doing damage. If left untreated, it’ll gradually get worse. It could get to the point where you find it hard to walk.
How Can You Treat Toenail Fungus?
There are many ways to kill toenail fungus. The option that you select will be determined by how far the condition has progressed (mild or serious) and your personal treatment-related preferences. Let’s look at some of the different options:
Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak
An effective ingredient in any fungal treatment is Avo Essentials tea tree oil. It has antifungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and other healing properties. Tea tree oil has been used for centuries to cure many ailments. It is well-known for being able to get rid of toenail fungus quickly, hence the reason that it’s a popular choice.
If you like foot soaks, we recommend the Purely Northwest system. It is a complete 3-part system. It comes with a soak, which allows the treatment to soak into your skin and nail. It also comes with an antifungal foot wash and a nail treatment. The ingredients are 100% natural.
An electric foot spa machine can help to improve circulation, promote faster healing, and reduce stress levels. Why not turn your foot soak into a more relaxing experience?
There is also a laser device that is now available to the public. It is called the Cure Ex Fungus Treatment Laser Device, and it works well for some people. It only takes few minutes a day, and there are no other creams or oils that you have to use with it.
It fits on your toe, and the laser gets straight to work on the infected nail and skin, killing the fungus fast. It’s a useful option if you seem to be prone to getting fungus as it’ll enable you to avoid paying for repeat treatments.
You can always go to a podiatrist for laser treatment, but they do charge $1000+, getting more expensive depending on the severity of the infection. Health insurances don’t usually cover the cost as it’s (surprisingly) considered to be just a cosmetic issue.
At first, it can be hard to tell the difference between toenail fungus and an injury to the nail. But, as time passes, you will see the other symptoms of fungus start to develop. Using a good treatment, such as the Purely Northwest system is a must, and the sooner, the better.