\ About Toenail Fungus
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About 1 in 10 people have toenail fungus

Are you one of them?

Learn the signs of toenail fungus, what you can do about it, and if you should contact your doctor about treatment.

How to identify toenail fungus

Learn the signs of toenail fungus, what you can do about it, and if you should contact your doctor about treatment.

Are you spotting the signs of a toenail fungus infection?

Toenail fungus is a common problem that can start with symptoms that may seem unimportant, like a slight yellowing of the nail. With time, however, untreated toenail fungus will continue to attack and destroy your toenail.

If you see any of these symptoms, contact your doctor. The sooner you begin treatment, the better your chances are of eliminating the infection.

  • Separation of the toenail from the toenail bed
  • Debris under the toenail
  • Discolored toenails(usually yellow, non-transparent white, or brown)
  • Partial or complete destruction of the toenail
  • Reddened, swollen, and tender toenail bed

Toenail fungus can be confused with other conditions

It is helpful to understand the differences between toenail fungus and similar conditions, since they are often related and can impact one another.

Causes and prevention

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What causes toenail fungus?

The most common causes of toenail fungus are called dermatophytes (der-mat-o-phytes), which are infectious fungi that live in soil, animals, and humans. They thrive in wet environments and are also responsible for conditions like ringworm, athlete’s foot, and jock itch.

Because the toenail fungus is able to hide beneath the nail, it has a reputation for being difficult to treat. But, if you consult with your doctor early and stick to your treatment plan, you can keep your toenail fungus from becoming worse.

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Are you at high risk of getting toenail fungus?

Certain conditions can make it easier for a fungal infection to take hold and spread more quickly. If you fit into any of these categories and think you already have toenail fungus, don’t wait to contact your doctor.

  • Poor blood circulation
  • Diabetes
  • Weakened immune system
  • Previous nail injury or infection
  • Heavy perspiration
  • Regular work and/or play in humid, wet environments
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • Approximately 1 in 3 people with diabetes also have toenail fungus.

You can take steps to prevent new and recurring toenail fungus infections

Mind your shoes

  • Throw away old shoes, especially the ones you sweat most in
  • Use antifungal spray or powder in your shoes every day
  • Wear shoes that do not cramp your toes

Treat foot infections fast

  • If anyone in the household shows signs of athlete’s foot, treat it immediately

Maintain your nails

  • Keep your nails clean
  • Trim your toenails straight across rather than rounded or in a V shape
  • Do not share nail clippers or nail files, even with your family

Protect your nails in public

  • Do not walk barefoot in public, especially around pools, spas, gyms, and locker rooms
  • Bring your own clippers and nail files to the nail salon
  • Ask your nail technician to wash the nail-soaking dish and pedicure tub with bleach between each client
  • Male or female?
  • While toenail fungus occurs more often in men, women are still at risk, especially in areas where toenail fungus thrives.

Reasons to treat toenail fungus

What can happen if you don’t treat toenail fungus?

When it comes to toenail fungus, what starts as a minor infection can easily turn into multiple complications that become increasingly harder to control.


Toenail fungus can cause:

  • Painful skin infections like cellulitis and athlete’s foot
  • Foot ulcers in patients with diabetes
  • Permanent damage to the nail plate

Toenail fungus can spread to:

  • Other toes and fingers
  • Groin and legs
  • Your family and friends
  • Are you over 65?
  • Age can cause toenail fungus to aggravate foot conditions,making it harder to walk and increasing the chance of falls.

Want to know more about how one of the topical treatments for toenail fungus works?

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