Health

How to Stamp Out Toenail and Foot Fungus

Fungi love dark, damp places, so your feet are especially vulnerable to fungal infection, says Rebecca Sundling, DPM, a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Specialists in western Michigan.

Both toenail fungus and foot fungus are very common, and both can be caused by the same organism. However, they aren’t the same condition, and they are treated differently, she says. Read on to learn how to identify toenail and foot fungus, and how to prevent and treat both.

Toenail Fungus: Causes and Risk Factors

Toenail fungus is a fungal infection in the toenail. It happens when a fungus — anything from mold to yeast to other types of fungus — gets in the nail bed from a cut or break in the nail or repetitive trauma to the nail, and penetrates the nail itself, says Dr. Sundling. The nail then continues to grow with the fungus. Once a nail plate is infected with fungus, it will stay infected, and you must wait to see how it grows out and whether the new nail growing behind it is healthy. The new nail rarely grows in healthy without treatment, says Sundling.

Toenail fungus is very common — 14 percent of people have it in North America, according to research — and it’s more common the older you get, adds Sundling. Wearing shoes that are too small can damage the nail and make it more vulnerable to fungus, as can having a fungal infection on the skin of the foot (known as foot fungus or athlete’s foot) and not treating it, which could expose the nail to fungus. You may be more at risk to toenail fungus if you have diabetes, or a weaker immune system.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button