Toenail fungus is an infection that develops between the toenail and nail bed. Also called onychomycosis, fungus typically invades the nail through small cracks or cuts. Onychomycosis can penetrate the fingernails, but it’s far more common in toenails.
Toenail fungus starts as a small white or yellow spot but can quickly spread throughout the nail. As the fungus penetrates deeper into your nail, the following symptoms can appear:
A foul smell from your affected nail can indicate an infection. Without treatment, a fungal infection can spread through the skin on your feet and the surrounding nails.
The most common cause of an infected toenail is a fungus called dermatophyte, but mold and some yeasts can invade the nail. Certain risk factors for toenail fungus include:
Nails naturally thicken and become more brittle with age. As a result, small cracks can lead to fungal infections in the nail.
Conditions that cause poor circulation, like diabetes, can interfere with wound healing. The longer it takes for a small cut to heal, the more likely fungi are to penetrate the nails and skin.
Skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema can cause minor cuts in the skin that allow fungi to break through.
A history of athlete’s foot — a fungal infection of the skin — increases your risk of developing toenail fungus.
Fungi thrive in wet environments. Wearing sweaty socks or walking through a swimming pool locker room barefoot can leave you wide open to a toenail fungus infection.
Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates offers several topical and prescription treatments for toenail fungus, including:
Tolcylen, from Marlinz Pharma, is a powerful over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal solution that utilizes an alcohol base with a low surface tension similar to prescription products.
Medicated antifungal creams, and nail polishes can help eliminate nail fungus before it spreads to your surrounding nails.
In advanced cases, your doctor at Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates will remove your infected nail and apply medication directly to the skin underneath.
Call Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates today or schedule an appointment online to learn more about toenail fungus.