Fungal Nails

What are Fungal Nails?

Fungal nails, medically known as onychomycosis, refer to a fungal infection of the nails, typically more common in toenails than fingernails. The condition is caused by various fungal organisms, the most common being dermatophyte fungi. Yeasts and molds can also infect nail tissue, leading to changes in the nail’s appearance and structure. Factors contributing to fungal nail infections include aging, reduced blood circulation to the feet, a weakened immune system, frequent sweating, walking barefoot in damp communal areas, and having athlete’s foot. Fungal nails can be stubborn to treat, requiring consistent and sometimes prolonged therapy.

Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms of nail fungus depend on the severity of your infection. Telltale signs of nail fungus include:

  • Thickened nails
  • Discolored nails
  • Brittle nails
  • Crumbly nails
  • Ragged nails
  • Distorted nails

As nail fungus spreads to other toes, you might also notice a foul odor emanating from your feet, socks, or shoes.

Fungal Nails FAQ

Nail fungus affects people from all walks of life, but there are certain factors that may increase your risk, including:

  • Being middle-aged or older
  • Having sweaty feet
  • Walking barefoot in damp areas
  • Having a skin or nail injury

You’re also more likely to experience nail fungus as a result of chronic conditions. Common causes of nail fungus include diabetes, a weakened immune system, and circulatory problems.

If your nail fungus doesn’t respond to over-the-counter treatments and your affected nail becomes increasingly discolored, thick, or deformed, don’t wait to seek professional medical help. This is particularly true if you have a chronic condition like diabetes. Without proper treatment, nail fungus may cause more serious complications. 

To diagnose nail fungus, Dr. Hausman examines your feet, toes, and toe nails. He also takes a series of nail clippings and scrapes under your nail to gather a sample for further testing. Dr. Hausman sends your sample to a laboratory that identifies the type of fungus causing your infection.

Treatment for nail fungus depends on the type of fungus causing your symptoms and the severity of your condition. Whenever possible, Dr. Hausman recommends conservative treatments such as oral antifungal drugs, medicated nail polish, and medicated nail cream.

If these measures don’t provide significant relief, you might benefit from surgical intervention. During surgery for nail fungus, Dr. Hausman temporarily removes your nail and applies an antifungal treatment directly to the infection under your nail. 

Don’t let itchy toes or brittle nails negatively affect your quality of life. Request a nail fungus consultation at Lionel G. Hausman, DPM, today by calling the office or clicking the online booking tool.