Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is a fungal infection that affects a person’s nails. Also known as onychomycosis, nail fungus can appear on a person’s hands or feet, but it is more commonly found in the toenails. Nail fungus is not usually painful, but it can have a very unpleasant appearance. When not treated, this can become an ongoing or chronic issue, spreading to other nails via prolonged contact. This fungus can also spread from person to person if the necessary precautions are not taken, such as not wearing sandals in a public shower.


Nail Fungus Causes

Typically, nail fungus is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. However, this infection can also be caused by yeasts and molds, which makes determining an exact cause difficult. That said, the most common method for fungus, yeast, or mold to enter the nail is through a break or cut, usually caused by a small injury or poorly fitted shoes. In general, this fungus is contracted in warm or wet places, such as in a public shower or locker room.

Fungal nail infections can be very contagious, so it is important to take several precautions if you are affected. This includes always wearing shoes in public spaces, maintaining protection in places like locker rooms and public pools, and seeking nail fungus treatment as soon as possible.


Nail Fungus Symptoms

Symptoms will differ depending on the type of fungi contracted. In most cases, the infected nail will become thickened, brittle, ragged, distorted in shape, and/or dull or dark in color. Infected nails may also have patches of white or yellow. It is rare for nail fungus to be painful, but some patients may experience discomfort. Most often, peeling skin and crumbling, yellow nails are the tell-tale signs of a fungus.


Nail Fungus Treatment

Nail fungus can be difficult to treat because identifying the fungus takes an experienced eye and practiced hand. First, the doctor will need to determine which type of fungi has infected the nail. After making this determination, they will prescribe either an oral or topical medication for treatment. Surgical procedures are rarely needed, but they may be recommended in extreme cases. Some patients also experience relief by taking supplements to rid the body of the infection. Nail fungus treatment is extremely personalized because it will target the specific fungus and cause.

Once the nail fungus treatment takes effect, it is important to prevent future infections. This includes avoiding walking barefoot in public areas, wearing well-fitted shoes, and keeping the hands and feet as dry as possible. We also recommend using antifungal powders.

When to See a Dermatologist for Nail Fungus Treatment

Drugstores and pharmacies advertise over-the-counter nail fungus treatments, but they are rarely very effective. To properly treat the infection, you must first identify the type of fungus. Only a medical professional has the experience and education necessary to do this. Plus, the best nail fungus treatments are only available with a doctor’s prescription.

If you think you have nail fungus, make an appointment and any of our three Minnesota offices. We have specialized fungal infection treatments designed to help patients like you. Contact Us to schedule an appointment or virtual visit today.

*Results may vary per patient. Services vary by location.