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Fungal Toenail

Overview

What Is Toenail Fungus?

Fungi are naturally present on and in the body, but when it begins to overgrow you can develop an infection. Fungal infections can develop anywhere on the body, but the feet are especially prone to fungal infection because our shoes provide a dark, warm, and moist environment in which fungus can thrive. One such infection is tinea pedis, also known as athlete’s foot, a fungal infection affecting the skin of the feet. Another is onychomycosis (tinea unguium), a fungal infection that can affect part of a toenail, a whole toenail, or several toenails.

Symptoms

What Are The Symptoms Of Fungal Toenails?

The most common sign of a fungal nail infection is the development of white or yellow spots that present most commonly as:
  • Yellowing and thickening of surface of the toenail
  • Brittleness, crumbling or flaking on or below the surface of the toenail
  • Unpleasant odors stemming from the nail or surrounding skin
Treatment

How Do I Treat Fungal Toenails?

Fungal toenails are generally more difficult to treat than athlete’s foot, with over-the-counter topical antifungal ointments not reliably eradicating infection. Better penetration of topical antifungal medications and regular nail debridement where the nail will be significantly reduced in thickness by a chiropodist is necessary. In some cases, an oral prescription of antifungal medication will be required.*Moisture-control socks, shoes, and sandals are available in our Toronto foot clinic.

*To schedule best foot care treatment with our licensed Chiropodists (foot specialists), use the booking form below or call 416-769-FEET(3338).

Our Toronto foot clinic is open Monday-Friday 10am-7pm, Saturdays 10am-4pm. You do not need a referral to become a patient at our Foot clinic.

Risk Factors

What Causes Toenail Fungus?

Certain risk factors may increase your chances of developing fungal toenails:

  • Infection can develop following a toenail injury
  • The elderly have the highest risk of developing fungal toenails because as we age, our toenails get brittle and fungus can enter through cracks
  • Nail infections are more common in men than women
  • Walking barefoot in communal swimming pools, gyms, yoga studios, showers, and locker rooms
  • An existing athlete’s foot infection
  • Reduced circulation in the feet due to conditions like peripheral vascular disease or diabetes
Prevention

How Do I Prevent Fungal Toenails?

Here are various foot care solutions you can do to prevent fungal infection of your toenails:

  • When having a pedicure, always ask how and how often the salon staff sanitizes their tools – pedicure tools such as nail clippers can spread toenail fungus from person to person if they are not properly disinfected between uses.  Steam sterilization is the gold standard for infection control and is required by foot care professionals such as chiropodists and podiatrists.
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks and change your socks midday if you have sweaty feet
  • Wear shoes made from breathable materials
  • Wear protective footwear when visiting public pools, gyms, yoga studios, and locker rooms
  • Thoroughly dry your feet and in between your toes after showering and before putting on your socks and shoes
  • Air out athletic shoes after use to ensure they thoroughly dry before the next wear
Moisture-control socks, shoes, and sandals are available in our clinic store, open Monday-Friday 10am-7pm and Saturday 10am-4pm.
Articles about Fungal Toenail by Feet First Clinic

Book an appointment for fungal toenail

You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic. Schedule an appointment by using the Appointment Request form below or phoning the clinic at 416-769-FEET(3338).