What is toenail fungus?
Toenail fungus is a common fungal infection. The most noticeable symptom are a white or yellow discoloration of one or more of your toenails.
Many different types of fungi can cause toenail fungus, but the most common is Trichophyton rubrum. This fungus can also cause athlete's foot, which is a fungal infection of the skin on the feet and toes.
If you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood circulation, you're at a higher risk for developing toenail fungus. People who have a weakened immune system are also at a higher risk.
What causes toenail fungus?
Toenail fungus is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, such as sweaty shoes or showers.
The fungi can spread from person to person. If you have athlete's foot, you can transfer the fungi to your toenails through direct contact. Or, if you walk barefoot in a public place, such as a locker room or pool, you can pick up the fungi from the floor.
What are the symptoms of toenail fungus?
The most common symptom of toenail fungus is a discoloration of your toenails. The nails may become yellow, brown, or black. They may also become thick or brittle.
Other symptoms include:
- Flaking or lifting of the nail
- Bad odor coming from the nail
- Pain in the nail or surrounding skin
If you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood circulation, you may not have any symptoms, but infection can still damage your nails.
How is toenail fungus diagnosed?
Toenail fungus is usually diagnosed based on your symptoms and a physical examination of your nails. If Dr. Hassan suspects a different underlying condition, such as psoriasis, he may order additional tests.
How is toenail fungus treated?
Toenail fungus is often challenging to treat, and it may take several weeks or months before you see any improvement. But if you're persistent with treatment, you should be able to clear the infection.
There are several different treatments available, including:
- Antifungal cream: These products help to kill the fungus and prevent it from spreading. You can usually find them over the counter at your local drugstore.
- Antifungal pills: These drugs are typically only prescribed if your toenail fungus is severe or if you have a weakened immune system. Side effects may include liver damage, so they should be used with caution.
- Laser therapy: This treatment involves using a special laser to kill the fungus. It's usually only done if other treatments haven't worked.
How can toenail fungus be prevented?
There are a few things you can do to help prevent toenail fungus, including:
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places, such as locker rooms or pool areas.
- Wear shoes that fit well and allow your feet to breathe.
- Keep your nails trimmed and clean.
- Don't share nail clippers or other personal grooming items.
- Disinfect any tools you use to trim your nails.
to Toenail Fungus
If you are experiencing any symptoms of toenail fungus, see Dr. Hassan as soon as possible. He can help you diagnose the infection and recommend the best treatment options for you. With persistence and treatment, most cases of toenail fungus can be cleared.Book Appointment →