What is Toenail Fungus?

What is Onychomycosis?

Onychomycosis or toenail fungus is an infection that develops beneath the surface of your nail. Once infected, your toenail can change colors, thicken and crumble. Since fungus is so infectious, a single infected nail can spread, leaving you with other nail or skin infections. For this reason, it’s important to prevent fungal nail infections. Or, if you notice changes in your toenail, early diagnosis and treatment is key to preventing infection spread, pain, and even challenges to your mobility. 

What is Onychomycosis: Causes

Our world is covered with microscopic fungal organisms. Usually, they don’t cause too many problems. But if fungi make their way into cracks in your skin, infections will develop. Now, this can happen anywhere in your body. But your toenails are especially vulnerable since many people choose to go barefoot, leaving the feet unprotected. Furthermore, something as simple as pressure from your shoes can damage your nail bed, creating small openings that invading fungi can use to their advantage. 

Anyone can develop a fungal toenail infection, but you’ll have a higher risk if you have a compromised immune system, or suffer from diseases such as diabetes. Finally, if you’ve had multiple athlete’s foot infections, or you’re prone to excessive sweating, your risk will also increase.  

Fungal Toenail Symptoms

At first, an infected toenail may not look so different. But over time, the changes will be more noticeable, making it less attractive and causing embarrassment when you wear sandals or open-toed shoes. 

Onychomycosis symptoms include: 

  • A thickened, yellow or foul-smelling toenail
  • Nails that turn brittle, change shape or crumble
  • The appearance of chalky white debris beneath your nail
  • Ingrown toenail or sensitivity surrounding the infected nail 


Preventing Toenail Fungus Infections

If you want to avoid a fungal toenail infection, be sure to protect your nails from injury. When your nails are subject to trauma, they are more likely to develop opening that allow fungus to invade your body. 

Next, practice good hygiene, regularly washing your feet with soap and warm water, and always drying them afterward—especially the tight spaces between your toes. It’s also important to keep your feet covered, especially in locker rooms, gyms, and at public pools, where wet surfaces and steamy environments create the perfect breeding grounds for fungal infections.  

Of course, covering your feet is a great way to prevent a fungal infection. But in some cases, your shoes could actually be the source of the problem. When your feet sweat in the closed environment of a shoe, you can once again help fungus thrive. In this way, you could be increasing your risk for fungal toenails every time you slip on your sneakers. 

Want to stamp out this source of infection? Try rotating the shoes you wear each day, giving each pair at least 24 hours of drying time before their next outing. If you’re prone to excessive sweating, travel with a spare pair of socks in your bag, and switch into a dry pair midway through your day. Better yet, choose a moisture-wicking athletic sock that can help keep your feet dryer throughout the day. 

Now, even with dry feet and fresh shoes, you’re not yet in the clear for a fungal infection. When you’re trimming your toenails, be sure to cut straight across, and leave a small amount of white nail visible. Regularly clean your nail scissors, using a scrubbing brush and a 70-90 percent solution of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), along with some anti-bacterial soap. Never use the same pair of scissors for your toe and finger nails, and never share clippers with another person—even a family member. 

Hopefully, these preventative tips will keep onychomycosis away from your toenails. But if you’ve noticed changes in the shape, appearance or smell of your nail, it’s important that you come to the office right away for a complete exam. 

Diagnosing and Treating Onychomycosis

Usually, we diagnose a fungal toenail with a visual exam, but we can also conduct tests to determine the type of fungus causing your infection. This allows us to choose the most effective treatment plan, whether that’s topical or oral medications, or removing diseased nail matter and debris from your infected nail to speed up your healing. 

Keryflex Nail Restoration During Onychomycosis Treatment

Healing a fungal toenail can be a time-consuming process, but you don’t have to live with an unattractive nail while you heal. Instead, we can offer you the Keryflex Nail Restoration treatment. With this option, we’ll apply a topical resin to your affected nail(s). After just a few minutes drying under a special UV light, the Keryflex resin delivers the look and feel of your healthy, natural nail.

When you choose this form of nail restoration, you can paint and polish your Keryflex nail. And, while you’re sporting this resin nail in your open-toed-shoes, the treatment of your natural nail proceeds underneath, without interference. 

Who Can Ask for Keryflex Nail Restoration? 

Almost anyone can benefit from a Keryflex nail.  While it adheres to your natural nail, there’s space beneath that allows you to apply any topical fungal treatments. And the nail is flexible enough to let you enjoy your favorite exercises without fear of breakage. Still, patients with neuropathy, vascular disease, or a history of ingrown toenails may not be able to choose Keryflex nail restoration. 

What is Onychomycosis? An Infection We Can Beat: Together! 

As you can see, onychomycosis is a highly contagious nail infection that’s caused by fungus. Often, we can prevent this form of infection with proper nail care, footwear and good hygiene. But some fungal toenail infections are unavoidable. And, in those instances, seeking early diagnosis and treatment will make all the difference in your recovery. 

Have you noticed changes in the shape or appearance of your nail? Don’t wait until you’re embarrassed to show your feet in public before taking action. Instead, at the first sign of a fungal infection, make an immediate appointment with Dr. Lisa Brandy. She’ll treat your infection, and can even restore the appearance of your nail so you can rock your favorite sandals while you heal! 

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Office Hours
Monday 8:00am - 4:30pm
Tuesday 8:00am - 4:30pm
Wednesday 8:00am - 4:30pm
Thursday 8:00am - 5:30pm
Friday 8:00am - Noon


p. (972) 293-9650
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1801 N. Hampton Road
Suite 340
DeSoto, TX 75115

Inside the Inwood National Bank Building on the 3rd Floor

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