Nail fungus is a condition characterized by the thickening, discoloring and possible ‘flaking’ of the nails on the toes and (rarely) on the fingers.
Now one commonly asked question by people who are handed a nail fungus diagnosis is as to whether nail fungus can lead to further complications, and if so, what those complications could be.
The answer to the first part of the question is ‘yes,’ fungus can indeed lead to complications – though that is not always the case.
1) One of the possible complications from fungus is total nail damage, where the infected nails – whether on the toes or on the fingers, become irreparably messed up. What is worth noting here is that fungus is a living thing, depending on the nail tissue for its nutrition. So the longer you leave your nail fungus infection unattended to, the more the fungus continues feeding on the nail. This can get to a point where the nail is so badly messed up that the only way to treat it is to remove it – and make room for a new one grow in its stead. Naturally, as you can imagine, removal of a nail is not likely to be a very pleasant procedure. Hence the need to seek treatment for fungus early on, when permanent nail damage has not yet taken place.
2) Fungus, according to researchers, also puts you at a higher risk of cellulitis. Thus this increase in the risk of cellulitis is the second possible complication from nail fungus. Cellulitis itself is a much more serious infection, which can spread to the rest of the body. Furthermore, unlike nail fungus, a fungal infection that can be quite easily combated, cellulitis is a bacterial infection – the sort that tends to rather problematic in getting rid of.
3) The third possible complication from fungus is pain. Initially, the condition is not painful, just disfiguring. But if pain is the only motivation that will get you acting on your health, then you can count on fungus sending it your way, sooner or later. And when it comes, the pain from fungus can be quite excruciating. Thankfully, it is only when nail fungus is left unattended for a very long period of time indeed that pain can result. At this stage, the only real treatment open to you may be the surgical removal of the affected nail, and this is also likely to be an even more painful procedure.
4) The fourth possible complication from fungus, especially if you have a condition like diabetes, is that blood supply (and supply of ‘sensation’ through nerves) may become impaired. This can lead to more serious conditions, possibly even making it hard for you to use the afflicted body organs (whether hands in the case of nail fungus affecting finger nails, or the feet, in the case of fungus affecting toe nails).
Thankfully, these complications are only likely to take place if you leave your nail fungus unattended for too long. As long as you seek timely treatment for the condition, it is really not something you should be too worried about.