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Preventing Fungal Toenail Infections

A fungal toenail infection, also known as onychomycosis, often starts as a small white or yellow spot under the tip of one of your toenails. It is not usually painful or uncomfortable at this stage but as the infection goes deeper into your nail bed your nail begins to thicken and get brittle and crumbly at the edges. The whole nail will begin to be discolored due to the buildup of debris under the nail. The nail will look dull and not shiny. Eventually, the nail may even separate from the nail bed and this can be quite painful.

At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists we treat many cases of fungal toenails in the summer months. This is because fungi love moist, warm conditions. Places like public pools, changing rooms and rest rooms at the beach, nail salons and picnic pavilions at the lake are all likely to see lots of barefoot traffic. These are the perfect places for the fungus to flourish.

Our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Dr. Carl Conui, D.P.M., or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M, will need to examine the nail and possibly have some of the debris analyzed by the lab to see what type of fungi is causing the infection. This will determine the treatment. Fungal infections can take a long time to go away. The foot doctor may prescribe an oral or topical medication. Other treatments include debridement, which is cleaning out the debris from under the nail and partial or total removal of the infected nail. It is not uncommon for nail infections to reoccur.

Of course the best scenario is not to get a fungal infection. Here are some ways to protect your nails:

  • Wash feet every day and dry completely

  • Keep nails trimmed short and straight across

  • Do not go barefoot in public places

  • Don’t wear overly tight hosiery and look for socks made of material that wicks moisture away from your feet

  • Don’t use nail polish on nails you think may be infected. Always disinfect home pedicure tools and if you have professional pedicures make sure your salon properly sanitizes tools and foot baths

  • Use anti-fungal powder on feet

  • If possible, rotate shoes so that you don’t wear the same pair two days in a row

If you have any concerns about changes you notice in your toenails, make an appointment at our Reading office at your earliest convenience.

Contact Us

New England Foot & Ankle Specialist

30 New Crossing Road

Suite 311

Reading, MA 01867 US

(781) 944-4044