How quick does toenail fungus grow?

I had been wondering what was wrong with my toenails and after comparing various pictures on the internet and reading the description of nail fungus on your website, I was sure that I had it.

However, both my family doctor and a chiropodist have now said that it isn't fungus. The reason they give is that the nail bed looks healthy. The top half approximately of each big toenail is the area affected. You can't see the nail bed through the affected area but below it, it looks ok. They say that it's just trauma and that it will grow out. And that there is nothing that needs to be done. I'm still not convinced :-(

Before seeing the doctors I had already started following your advice and was seeing improvement. The big toenails are the worse but the other nails appeared to me to be affected as well but not as much, but now look fine since I started using the method you suggested (filing the nail a bit to remove the shine and using Lamisil, a prescription I had left over from having Athletes Foot about a year before). There was some mprovement in the big toes and really no sign left on the other toes when I saw the doctors. Maybe that confused them? Surely if it was just trauma the treatment would not have shown any improvement at all?

Could you please explain this: your website seems to suggest that fungus starts growing at the top of the nail (the part you clip) and grows downwards towards the base. Doesn't that mean that one can have fungus and still have a healthy looking nail base and bed because the fungus hasn't reached the base yet?

Also, how fast does the fungus eat the nail down? And is it possible for a chiropodist to miss a diagnosis of nail fungus just based on a visual inspection?

Does it make sense to keep treating it with Lamisil just in case they are wrong?

Sorry for the long-winded question. Sure appreciate your advice, thank you.

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Feb 12, 2017

by: Dominic

Normal nail growth rate is roughly 12-18 months from the base to the tip.

Therefore if you have trauma to the nail it will grow out in time and you can see a distinct new nail old nail type of line. Repetitive and continuous trauma will cause constantly thickening of the nail.

Toenail fungus initially keeps up with the growth rate of the nail and seems like it is not growing out. As time goes on it starts to overtake the growth rate of the nail and start its travels downwards- usually in small lines until it gets to the base. Just because the base of the nail isnt affected doesn't mean that fungus is not present- just means that it hasnt got down to there yet. However yeast usually comes from the base upwards.

Remember your terms as well- nail bed is the part under the nail, base of the nail is the end- the cuticle area.

If it is a nail fungus then early treatment is more successful because the fungus hasn't taken hold. The Lamisil cream that you used is helpful but dont use it for long a long period of time.

Also, if the "fungus" is close to the top it is easier to get a better sample to be sent off.

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About Dominic Hough

Hi. I'm Dominic. I treat patients every day at a local clinic. I am a trained Chiropodist and I care about prevention. I designed the website to help readers understand treat and even prevent issues from happening to their feet.