If you spend time barefoot in the gym locker room or shower, you may develop toenail fungus that affects the health of your nails. At Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery, the podiatrists offer customized treatment plans to destroy toenail fungus and prevent permanent nail damage. They use topical treatments, antifungal medications, and minimally invasive surgery to restore your nail health and offer resources to prevent recurrent infections. Call the office in Santa Clarita, Burbank, or Northridge, California, to schedule a consultation for toenail fungus or book an appointment online today!

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What is toenail fungus?

Toenail fungus is an infection that develops when fungi enter your nails. You can pick up a fungal infection if you walk barefoot in damp, public spaces like locker room showers or the community pool.

Toenail fungus can also spread to your nails through physical contact with an infected person or objects like nail clippers.

While anyone can develop a toenail fungus infection, your risk may increase due to:

  • Aging
  • Toenail injuries
  • History of athlete’s foot
  • Weakened immune system

If left untreated, toenail fungus can spread to other areas of your body and to other people. Your infection can also worsen and cause complications, especially if you have diabetes or an immune system disorder.

When should I seek treatment for toenail fungus?

You should schedule a diagnostic evaluation at Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery if you have symptoms of toenail fungus, such as:

  • Nail thickening
  • Nail discoloration
  • Brittle or crumbly nails
  • Foul odor

You may also notice that your toenail is separating from the nail bed.

The providers physically examine your nails and may scrape a sample of tissue from under your nail to confirm a fungal infection. They customize a treatment plan to your needs to clear the infection and restore the health of your toenails.

How is toenail fungus treated?

Your treatment plan for toenail fungus may include topical medications or a medicated nail polish to destroy the fungus in your nails. If topical treatments aren’t working well, you may need to take an oral antifungal medication.

If these strategies aren’t effective, the Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery team may recommend surgery. Your podiatric surgeon uses minimally invasive techniques to remove part or all of your infected toenail to apply medications directly into your nail bed.

In some cases, surgery to permanently remove the nail and its root is necessary to treat the infection and prevent additional complications.

To reduce your risk for additional toenail fungus infections, you should wear shoes in public spaces and avoid sharing personal items like nail clippers and shoes with other people.

Call the Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery nearest you to schedule a diagnostic evaluation for toenail fungus, or book an appointment online today.