Fungus Toenails

A fungal infection of the toenail is a sometimes painful and often unsightly condition that can cause the nail to enlarge and separate from the nail bed. Since fungal nails are usually more resistant and more difficult to treat than Athlete’s foot, topical medications and laser therapy may be prescribed. Permanent nail removal is another possible form of treatment for fungal nails.

Symptoms of toenail fungus include:
  • Yellowing and thickening of the nail plate and nail bed
  • Dead skin and flecks of nail visible through the nail
  • Increase in the density of the nail, which can cause it to peel up from the skin
  • Cracks on the nail or flaking
  • Pain, sensitivity, or a mild odor at the site

Killing fungus under the nail can sometimes be more complicated than treating other fungal infections. Your podiatrist may recommend:

  • Topical antifungal treatment for the nail
  • Laser nail therapy
  • Carefully cleaning the feet each night
  • Keeping the feet dry by using powder after showering
  • Applying topical antifungals to the whole foot, so that an infection on the skin will not spread to the nail
  • For persistent or recurring problems, permanent nail removal

Once you have a healthy nail, there are effective ways to prevent nail fungus:

  • Don’t use another person’s nail trimmers, emery boards, socks or footwear
  • Avoid trimming your nails too short
  • Buy only cotton socks and change them as often as needed to keep your feet dry
  • Choose your footwear carefully, ensuring they are made of breathable material and that they are not too snug
  • Keep feet protected with sandals when entering public pool areas or showers