You can tell when it starts growing because the affected toenail will have tiny spots that have a different color to it. At first glance you may think your nails simply need to be cleaned because of the discoloring. This discoloration is under the toenail, but it cannot be cleaned out. That is an essential thing to bear in mind regarding this condition. Really, regardless of how hard you persevere, you will not be able to bring back the normal appearance of the nail. As the infection develops, then the toenail could turn completely black or brownish in color. There are a lot of treatments available you can find that do not require a docotr's prescription.
With the development of this condition, the toenaial will soon start to exhibit other signs of infection. There is some variation, but the nail itself will grow weaker and even seem to get thin. However, some whose nail become thicker. In any case, the infected toenail will become weaker and may start chipping here and there. The consequence will be loss of the nail totally with serious cases. The affected nail is going to begin to smell badly as the infection develops under the toenail.
Regrettably there is a pain factor associated with toenail fungus, and the more serious it becomes the more discomfort there is. What makes it hard to pick out straightaway is the fact that the fungus begins to accumulate and grow under the nail. It is the keratin that this particular fungus lives off of, and that is why the nail gets so weak. This fungus may develop in lighter areas, like fingernails, but it does best underneath toenails because of the lower light. You can help keep the infection from happening if you take good care of your nails, and avoid wearing excessively tight shoes every day. An unusual pH of the skin for too long can as well add to its development.
In general, you can stop toenail fungus from developing in the first place through proper hygiene and nail care. Since toenail fungus is a contagious condition, you must be careful in places like public hot rooms and steam rooms at health facilities and similar places. But you can easily and quickly take medication by mouth or apply it topically to the infected nail.