What Causes Toenail Fungus?
Micro-organisms called fungi cause fungal nail infections. You might be familiar with fungal infections known as ringworm or athletes’ foot, but these same fungi can also cause a nail infection. Fungi thrive in dark, moist places, so the area under a nail is particularly susceptible to a fungal infection. Often, these infections are spread by walking barefoot in warm, moist areas like pools and locker rooms.
Who Gets Toenail Fungus?
Nail fungus is a common problem that can affect just about anyone. You might be more likely to develop a fungal nail infection if you:
- Are older
- Live in or visit a hot, humid climate
- Have a family history of frequent fungal nail infections
- Injure a nail
In addition, the following medical conditions increase your risk of a fungal nail infection:
- Athlete’s foot
- Poor circulation
- Organ transplant
- Weakened immune system (either medication-induced or medical condition)
How Can I Prevent Toenail Fungus?
To prevent toenail fungus at home, follow these steps:
- Always wear flip flops or shower shoes in public locker rooms, showers, spas, or pools
- Throw away footwear after you finish a nail fungus treatment
- Choose footwear that fits properly, keeps your feet dry, and is made of breathable materials
- Keep your socks dry and change socks if they get sweaty
- Keep your nails short and appropriately trimmed
- Avoid sharing footwear, towels, or nail clippers and sanitize these items often
Why Treat Toenail Fungus?
Fungal nail infections are relatively easy to treat and can cause painful irritation, swelling, or loss of the nail. If you notice a fungal nail infection, you should schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist to address your condition.
How Can I Treat Toenail Fungus?
Usually, a dermatologist will treat a nail fungus with medication that can be applied directly to the nails or sometimes an oral medication. In some rare cases, your dermatologist may also recommend removing the nail.
Schedule an Appointment
If you’re dealing with a fungal nail infection, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to address your concerns. Our board-certified dermatologists can help with personalized treatments that will be effective for your specific nail needs.
To schedule an appointment at Arlington Dermatology, please call our office or request an appointment online.