Tuesday, 15 June 2021 00:00

Risk Factors and Treatments for Toenail Infections

Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is an infection that leads to the destruction of the nails as they become discolored, yellowed, thickened, and brittle, often causing them to break. The variety of fungi that cause onychomycosis thrive in dark, warm, and moist environments such as sweaty shoes, showers, and public locker rooms and pools. Risk factors that can lead to developing a toenail fungus include poor foot hygiene, wearing nail polish, having a chronic disease such as diabetes, and frequently using community showers or pools. Because toenail infections rarely heal on their own, consulting with a podiatrist may be necessary. If the infection is in a small part of the nail, a topical antifungal medication may be prescribed, however for larger infections, an oral antifungal medicine may be necessary. In extreme situations, a podiatrist may need to surgically remove the nail.

If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, contact Joan Oloff, DPM of Los Gatos Foot and Ankle . Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.


  • Warped or oddly shaped nails
  • Yellowish nails
  • Loose/separated nail
  • Buildup of bits and pieces of nail fragments under the nail
  • Brittle, broken, thickened nail


If self-care strategies and over-the-counter medications does not help your fungus, your podiatrist may give you a prescription drug instead. Even if you find relief from your toenail fungus symptoms, you may experience a repeat infection in the future.


In order to prevent getting toenail fungus in the future, you should always make sure to wash your feet with soap and water. After washing, it is important to dry your feet thoroughly especially in between the toes. When trimming your toenails, be sure to trim straight across instead of in a rounded shape. It is crucial not to cover up discolored nails with nail polish because that will prevent your nail from being able to “breathe”.

In some cases, surgical procedure may be needed to remove the toenail fungus. Consult with your podiatrist about the best treatment options for your case of toenail fungus.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Los Gatos, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.


Read more about Treating Toenail Fungus

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