This used to be a beautiful, pink and healthy big toenail. At some point in time it was infected by a nasty fungus. Infectious fungal spores can be found in places where many people walk around barefooted. Think gym showers, swimming pools, pedicure and reflexology places etc. Once the fungus enters the nail it eats away at a substance called keratin. Keratin is like the cement that holds the nail together. The nail then weakens, thickens, changes colour and when left untreated becomes disfigured and may or may not be painful.
Treatment is reasonably simple when spotted early. When left longer the nail responds poorly to treatment. That is when the entire nail may need to be removed as shown in the picture.
It is best to inspect your nails and feet regularly if you feel you are being exposed to places that may harbour fungal spores.
If you detect any changes in colour or thickness visit your podiatrist for an assessment.