Fungal infections of the nails give them an unsightly and unpleasant appearance. They appear unhealthy and can, in worse cases, significantly lower self-esteem levels. Unsightly nails can cause one to feel uncomfortable in social situations. When the nails of the fingers are affected, the discomfort becomes particularly obvious. The two symptoms of a fungal nail infection that are most disturbing are the thickening and discolouration of the nails.
Why do the nails become thicker?
Affected nails thicken when the fungus penetrates the keratin and starts to break it down. Two things then follow:
1 The fungus multiplies and forms a coating on the surface.
2 The nail thickens due to the leftover products from the deterioration process. A mass accumulates under the nail. With time, the mass becomes larger and lifts the afflicted nail or nails. The leftover products often retain a foul odour. The entire nail or parts of it appear thicker and the nail becomes brittle.
In conjunction with the thickening and lifting of the nail, there may be a feeling of pressure from under the nail. The pressure can be the source of particular pain. Pain is much more common in the case of fungus affected toenails than in fingernails similarly infected.