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There is nothing pretty about chalky white toenails, especially if there is a foul smell coming from them. A foul smell from the toenails is a good sign that it is a toenail fungus (known as onychomycosis). If the toenails are fragile, chalky, or crumbly then you can be pretty sure that the problem is a toenail fungus. It is not an uncommon problem; more than twenty percent of the population suffers with toenail fungus.
Toenail fungus usually begins with a soft yellow material that is found at the small end of the nail and the nail bed. With time the soft yellow material begins to spread. The toenail begins to get thick and turns yellow with white streaks and spots showing on the nail. If left untreated the nail will eventually grow fragile, become chalky and then eventually will be crumbly. The fungus will continue to grow more severe till the nail actually crumbles away, and can even spread to the other toenails.
In the beginning the infection maybe painless, but with time there will be some pain and discomfort associated with the infection which will make it hard to walk or do other activities.
Several things can cause a person to get the fungus:
To help prevent getting toenail fungus there are several things that can be done such as:
Toenail fungus can be treated effectively, but it may take as long as three months to a year, depending on how severe the problem is. If you suspect that the problem is a toenail fungus then you will want to see a podiatrist right away. The podiatrist will treat the problem with an oral medication, a topical medication, or may have to remove the diseased nail and debris that is around the toenail.
If you can't get in to see the podiatrist right away there are a couple of things that can be done at home that may help. Some home remedy suggestions are:
Remember that this problem took some time to get to the point where you noticed it. You will need to have patience and allow time for a new nail to grow and allow the healing process to work.