top of page

Why Does Toenail Fungus Smell?

toenail fungus smell

Toenail fungus is a fairly common foot problem, affecting up to 14% of the population. Having toenail fungus can also bring a bad smell. If you want to learn more about why toenail fungus can smell, continue to read below.

Why Does Toenail Fungus Smell

What Is Toenail Fungus?

First off, the toenail fungus is a tiny living thing that likes to eat a protein called keratin. Keratin is found in nails, hair, and skin. When this fungus finds its way into your toenail or the skin around it, they start eating this keratin, and that's when the trouble begins.

Why Does Toenail Fungus Smell Bad?

toenail fungus smell

1.Sulfur being released by the fungus

Well, as this fungus eats away at the keratin that your nail is made from, it releases some stinky stuff. This includes sulfur-containing chemicals, which have a strong, not-so-pleasant smell.

This process is like a tiny chemical reaction happening under your toenail. This is the main reason why toenail fungus smells bad.

2. The warm, wet environment of your foot or nail

All types of fungus and toenail fungus include love in warm, wet, and dark places. And guess what? The insides of our shoes and under your toenails are the perfect environment for toenail fungus to grow and thrive.

When your feet stay in closed shoes for a long time, especially if the shoes are too tight, aren't breathable, or both, it becomes a cozy home for fungus. The toenail fungus grows even more and produces more oder

3. An added bacterial infection in your nail

Sometimes, the bad smell from toenail fungus can get even worse because of bacteria. When the fungus eats away at the protein that your nail is made of, it also damages your toenail. This makes it much easier for bacteria to also infect your toenail as well.

The combination of the fungus and bacteria working together can make the smell much stronger and both infections are harder to get rid of.

4. Hygiene/personal care

Taking care of yourself can play a big role in how bad toenail fungus smells. If you don't wash your feet often or forget to dry them properly, it creates an ideal environment for the fungus to grow. Things like wearing the same socks for a long time, especially if you have sweaty feet, or you're in situations where your feet stay damp by rain or snow, can make the problem worse.

Changing socks often so that your feet remain dry for as long as possible, as well as taking off your shoes at home, can help slow down the fungus growth and make the smell less.

Factors That Can Make Your Toenail Fungus Smell Worse

toenail fungus smell

Not everyone with toenail fungus will have a smell to their toenails. Some things can make the smell worse:

1.How bad the fungus infection is: If the fungus infection is very bad, it can produce more smell. If you wait too long to treat it, the smell might get stronger.

2. A bacterial infection in your nail: When bacteria join the fungus in your toenail, it can make the smell worse.

3. Your health history: Some health problems, like diabetes or having a weaker immune system, can make the fungus infection worse. This can affect how your body tries to control the fungus, making the smell worse.

How to Deal with Toenail Fungus Smell

toenail fungus smell

If you have been dealing with a toenail fungus smell, there are some tips below that can help.

1.Keep your feet clean: Wash your feet regularly and make sure they are completely dry, especially between your toes.

2. Choose breathable shoes: Wear shoes made of materials that let your feet breathe like cotton or mesh materials. This helps to keep your feet dry and makes it harder for the fungus to grow.

3. Change often socks, or get moisture-wicking socks: If you have issues with sweaty feet, getting moisture-wicking socks, or just changing your socks as your feet sweat can be a game changer when trying to manage a toenail fungus smell.

4. See a foot doctor: If the toenail fungus smell doesn't go away, or your nail fungus is getting worse, find a local foot doctor in your community to see. At this appointment, your health history will be taken, and an exam done. A nail clipping or sample should be sent to a lab to see if fungus, bacteria, or both are in your nail and specifically what types.

After this is done medication targeted at your specific infection can be prescribed. Supplements also can be recommended or prescribed as well to give your body the compounds it needs to help fight these infections.

Key Takeaways

Toenail fungus might be common, but the smell doesn't have to be. Understanding why this happens and taking some simple steps can help you get rid of the toenail fungus smell and feel more confident.

Schedule Your Appointment At Direct Podiatry Arizona Today

Have you been dealing with toenail fungus and looking for treatment in the Phoenix area? My name is Dr. Tarr, and I am the owner of Direct Podiatry Arizona in Tempe. To view available appointment times, click here.

180 views0 comments


bottom of page