Toenail fungus (onychomycosis) is a fungal infection that invades the nail bed and causes toenails to become thick and yellow, making it embarrassing to wear sandals or go barefoot. If allowed to progress, the nail can detach from the nail bed. Because your feet provide a dark, moist environment and have less blood flow, fungal infections affect toenails more frequently than fingernails.
If you have unsightly toenails due to a fungal infection, foot and ankle specialist Dr. David E. Biss and the team at Concord Podiatry in Plymouth and Concord, New Hampshire, can help. Dr. Biss evaluates your infection and recommends the best way to combat toenail fungus and repair your toenails.
The most prevalent cause of toenail fungus is a group of fungi called dermatophytes that invade the nail bed. Walking barefoot in shared damp or wet spaces — such as showers, swimming pools, and locker rooms — raises your risk of infection. If you have athlete's foot (a fungal skin infection), it’s possible for the infection to spread to your toenails.
Fungi flourish in dark, moist conditions. Wearing sweaty socks or shoes for an extended period creates an ideal habitat for fungi to thrive. Additionally, conditions that affect circulation, such as diabetes or peripheral artery disease, increase your risk of toenail infections.
Toenail fungus doesn’t go away on its own. It must be treated or the infection will spread. When nail fungus is addressed early, it’s easier to treat.
You can identify toenail infections by the following symptoms:
Toenail fungus almost always worsens without treatment and might result in irreversible nail damage. If the fungus spreads to your skin, it can create cracking, allowing bacteria to enter and cause cellulitis, a serious skin infection. That’s why it’s vital to treat toenail fungus as soon as possible.
Toenail fungus isn’t just embarrassing. It can be difficult to treat, so you should see a podiatrist as soon as possible after spotting the signs.
The fungus that invades the nail bed generally starts at Athlete’s foot. Once the infection has moved to the nail, topical creams, ointments, and polishes are often recommended. In some cases, you may need an oral prescription medication.
In severe cases, Dr. Biss may need to remove the nail to assist the topical medications in penetrating the nail bed. Dr. Biss implements the most appropriate approach in treating your nail fungus.
Don’t delay in getting treatment for your nail fungus — we can restore the look and health of your toenails. Call the Concord Podiatry team at the office near you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Biss. Another option is to send us a text at 351-777-6056.