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Why do Toenails Smell So Bad & How to Get Rid of Smelly Toenails?

Why Do Toenail Smell So Bad?

It is obviously off-putting when toenails give off rotten smell. There are many among us who go through this embarrassing situation, when just after removing socks, a frustrating whiff of reeking stink takes over the ambience, no matter how much you try hard to get rid of it, you fail due to inadequate understanding. Now it is not the nail that releases such disgusting cheesy smell but it’s the area underneath that sources such stench. We apparently don’t tend our toe nails the way we tend our hand nails. We take a bath, scrub our body and wash our hair but little attention we pay to our toe nails. The stale toenail smell is something more than the toe jams, but the smell actually comes from finger or the area that remains between the fingers. When you cannot tolerate the smell anymore, its time you seriously need something to rid of it.

There are number of solutions on hand, accessing which one can easily get rid of toenail smell. Each time toenails are cut, they start releasing smell of cheese, so one needs to clean the toe along with the surrounding area a great deal to reduce such smell. However this is one recurring problem and it is quite challenging for some to understand the sources of this toenail smell, whether this is natural or some kind of infection causing smelly toenail is not easy to conclude for an inexperienced individual. But when you try to get rid of this toenail smell you will find help and assistance, however all solutions are not as effective as they claim to be t help get rid of smelly toenail. Often odors come with pain and itching. The more you rub and scratch, the more pain you will incur, the more pus will form and more vulnerable your toenail will become.

Why Do Toenail Smell So Bad?

Causes of Foul Smelling Toenail

Definitely, such foul smelling toenail is not natural nor all of us have to put up with it, but majority is seen to have this problem irrespective of age and gender. Bacterial infection is responsible for toenail smell and to get the situation under control you need to reach the source and finish it, once and for all. If you are avoiding and overlooking the foul toenail smell then be prepared that when you will be getting public and leaving your shoes behind, you are about to offend the people surrounding you. People will be forming wrong view about you; they will think that you are an unclean person who has no sense of hygiene.

We at random wear shoes, socks, our toe nails almost every day face wear and tear which leave them practically vulnerable to fungus attack. Fungus enter the nails and affect the surrounding area making the skin a warm bed for toe jam. Those who wear wet shoes for long time or wear socks and tight shoes are literally the one to develop such toenail smells. Toe nails start releasing nasty and unbearable stench when wet shoes are worn for pretty long time.

Some of the Probable Causes of Smelly Toenails are:

  • Toe nails are one of the least attended body parts and when they have lost the shine and luster, they usually start emitting the bad odor, they become brittle and change color. They become yellow and brown and with passing time toenails start having tiny spots. These are the indications of fungal infection.
  • When you are suffering from bacterial infection it also emits bad smell, when the toenail is damaged, bacteria gets chance to enter the toe nail and this is one classical symptom of toenail infection causing smelly toenail. Here the toenail starts oozing out pus and secretes other liquid. The pus accumulates and causes pain and foul smell. One will get inflamed nail and starts having pain. This pain is sometimes really unbearable. In severe cases the patient will be having problem in wearing shoes. Staphylococcus bacteria is something that causes this infection leading to smelly toenail.
  • People who are having diabetes are seen to be suffering from toenail infection and it happens almost recurrently. Those who are affected with diabetes are seen to have weak immunity and their frail toe nails start developing infection. Even when they are having infected nail and they fail to take care of their nail, they develop infection immediately.
  • Among all other causes, Brevibacteriaare is known widely to cause toenail infection and releasing foul toenail smell. These bacteria are also known to cause infection on human skin. These bacteria are practically harmless and they choose to thrive in warm and moist areas of body so the moment they get a chance to infiltrate under the nail they start developing ruthlessly. The main drawback of this bacteria development is, the more they grow the more odor they start emitting and the smell resembles like sulphur.
  • S-methyl thioesters sources the smell and it goes on increasing. Even this substance is known to produce cheese like white material beneath the toenail.

How to Get Rid of Smelly Toenail?

  • Now it is quite clear that smelly toenail is the direct outcome of two pathogens one is bacteria and other is fungus. Both of them take no time to thrive in opulence but as they exhibit different symptoms so they are quite easy to differentiate. It may happen that you fail to distinguish between these two and face the outcome without doing anything effectively.
  • So the first step to get rid of the problem of smelly toenail is identifying the underlying causes. The moment the cause is identified it becomes easier to find out the right cure. However in both cases people with smelly toenail will be requiring some antibiotic medication, but don’t be worried as you don’t have to go for any surgical operation.
  • All you need to do is clean the nail with some sterile antiseptic lotion and wipe it with clean cloth.
    The moment the nail is cleaned, anti bacterial ointment is applied over the affected nail and the toe nail can be covered with sterilized bandage. This bandage protects the toenail and prevent dirt and grime.
  • But during sleep one needs to remove the bandage so that the nail can breathe. This will accelerate the healing process. The moment the infection goes away, the odor or toenail smell will be gotten rid off. Now between the bacteria and fungi infection, fungal takes more time to heal.
  • On visiting doctor, you will be prescribed both oral medicines and ointments. You need to consume the medicine as scheduled and apply the ointment.

Home Remedies to Get Rid of Smelly Toenail

There are various home remedies, which the affected individual may fall back on to treat the infection thus preventing the foul smell that releases from toenail.

  • Warm Salt Water Solution: Here you need to warm the water and add tinge of salt in it and stir briskly so that the salt mixes well with the water. Then pour the water in a flat pail and rest your foot into it for few minutes. Soaking your feet in warm salt water solution is an effective home remedy to treat toenail infection causing toenail smell.
  • Tea Tree Oil: While seeking one of the best home remedies you need to see which comes with guaranteed results to help get rid of smelly toenail. One of the best performing agents is Tea tree oil. All you need to use few drops and rub them off on the affected toenail. You need to apply the oil twice a day.
  • Alcohol: Few consume alcohol for fun and enjoyment, few deter alcohol for they believe alcohol actually can push one to early death but when it is about getting rid of smelly toenail one can depend on alcohol. Just like tea tree oil, one has to use alcohol in small quantity. Using alcohol can reduce toenail smell. Apply alcohol on the affected toenail for 10 minutes, 2-3 times a day for best results.
  • Corn Starch Powder: Many people experience smelly toenail but when they keep on sprinkling little bit of corn starch powder or rub off the powder upon the affected area beneath the toe nail, you can easily get rid of toenail smell right away. Corn starch powder is an effective home remedy to get rid of toenail smell also eradicating bacteria and fungus infection.
  • Nail Hygiene: We give proper attention to the nails of our hand but fail to give similar attention to our feet, so eventually our feet falls victim to varying infections. One needs to tend the toenails and also remove the cuticle so that no bacteria or fungi gets chance to launch an attack. Right after coming home and removing shoes, one should clean the feet and gently remove dirt and sweat from the neighboring regions surrounding the toe nails. One may visit salons for pedicure. Pedicure is more of a caring therapy than a beauty. However if you are having smelly toenail, even salon people would recoil from providing service.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 23, 2023

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