Close up of woman's feet with mushrooms between toes

How do You Get Toenail Fungus?

Toenail fungus is a common medical issue. It starts out with your toenail turning white or yellow at the tip of your nail bed. As it worsens, the nail will likely discolor completely, thicken, and flake and crumble off. The condition is usually mild and can be treated at home. However, if it becomes painful you may need to see a Los Angeles podiatrist for prescribed medication to treat it. Let’s take a look at some common causes of toenail fungus.

Causes of Toenail Fungus

While every case is different there are certain risk factors for causes of toenail fungus. Below you will find some of the common risk factors that can make you susceptible to toenail fungus.

  1. Diabetes: Those who have diabetes have issues with circulation and a weakened immune system.
  2. Injury or Certain Conditions: For anyone who has minor nail or skin injuries or skin conditions, like psoriasis, there is a great risk for infection.
  3. Age: Older people tend to have a reduction in their blood flow making it harder to fight off possible infection and bacteria.
  4. Sweating: For those who sweat often and a lot, there is a great risk because the damp atmosphere breeds bacteria.
  5. Athlete’s Foot: If you have a history of athlete’s foot, toenail fungus is also a risk.
  6. Damp Areas: If you don’t cover your feet in damp and warm communal areas, it’s a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Places like gyms, shower areas, and swimming pools are risky.

Prevention Measures

Whether you are in one of the risk factor categories above or not, be sure and do your best to follow the tips below on prevention.

  • Stay Clean: Wash your hands and feet daily (or more often if needed).
  • Socks and Shoes: Wear sweat-absorbing socks or change them often if you sweat throughout the day. Wear shoes that are breathable. If your feet are constantly in a damp and warm environment it’s a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Stay Protected: If you are in a public place, especially one with water or showers, at the very least wear sandals.
  • Nail Care: Keep your nails trimmed down and maintain a short length. After you clip your nails disinfect the clippers even if you don’t share them.

Symptoms of Toenail Fungus

If you are concerned you may have toenail fungus but aren’t sure, below you will find the most common symptoms of toenail fungus.

  • Thickened nails
  • Discoloration that is a combination of white, yellow, or brown
  • Crumbly and brittle nails that flake off at the tip
  • Distorted shape
  • A smell that is slightly off and foul

Treatment Options

There are a number of at-home treatments you can try for the causes of toenail fungus. For mild to moderate cases, try these methods at home:

  • Over-the-Counter Anti-Fungal Medicine: Your local pharmacy should have topical anti-fungal medicines. Apply them as directed and it should clear up the issue within weeks.
  • Vic’s Vaporub: A study found that the ointment had a positive effect in the treatment of toenail fungus. Apply a small amount on the area affected at least once a day for the best results.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is an essential oil with antiseptic qualities. Apply tea tree oil to the affected area twice a day with a cotton swab for the best results.
    If the at-home remedies above don’t work, contact a medical professional for treatment options. It’s important not to let your toenail fungus go untreated as it can lead to other more serious issues.

Treatment by Dr. Jamshidinia in Los Angeles

Dr. Jamshidinia at Jamfeet is a board-certified foot surgeon trained in all areas of foot and ankle surgery. He treats everything from foot and ankle injuries to toenail fungus. Dr. Jamshidinia and his team believe in comprehensive patient care focused on getting you back to normal. Contact Jamfeet for a consultation today!