What causes fungal nails?
Your toenails are vulnerable to fungal infections because they spend so much time in a dark, warm, moist environment where fungi can easily grow—your socks and shoes. Compared with your fingers, your toes don’t receive quite as much blood, so they have a harder time combating infections. A fungal infection simply means there’s a lot of fungi in one place.
You may get a fungal infection if your feet are hot and sweaty, or if you don’t keep your feet clean and dry. Environments like locker rooms and swimming pools are breeding grounds for fungi where people tend to be barefoot.
Fungi also spread easily. You can catch a fungal infection from someone else, and fungal infections can spread from other parts of your body to your toenails, especially athlete’s foot, which affects the skin between the toes.
Not everyone gets fungal infections under these conditions. You’re at greater risk if you have diabetes, a weakened immune system, or poor circulation. Some people are also genetically more likely to get fungal infections.
What are signs of a fungal infection?
If you notice any of the following signs on one or more of your toenails, you may have a fungal infection:
- Scaling under the nail
- White or yellow streaks or spots on the nail
- Flaking and pits on the surface of the nail
- Crumbling in the corner or tip of the nail
- Foul odor
- Thickened or brittle texture
Not all changes to the appearance and texture of your nails result from fungal infections. Based on your symptoms, Dr. Forman will determine if you have a nail infection, identify what type of nail infection you have, and from there, develop a treatment plan.
How are fungal nail infections treated?
Not all fungal infections are equally serious or require the same intensity of treatment. However, it’s best to seek treatment to avoid infecting other people and stop the infection from spreading to your other toes. Dr. Forman may first prescribe an oral medication, which will help a new, healthy nail grow to replace the infected part and combine it with a topical medication, which you’ll brush onto your nail.
Antifungal medications can help with the symptoms of fungal nail infections but don’t always eliminate the infection, which means many fungal nail infections eventually come back. In these cases, Dr. Forman offers an FDA-approved laser treatment specially designed to destroy the fungus in and under your toenails. Just one treatment will eliminate the fungus and support healthy long-term nail growth.
To get effective, lasting treatment for fungal nails, call to book an appointment with Dr. Forman at Put Your Feet First or use the convenient online booking tool.