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Causes and Symptoms of Toenail Fungus

Tuesday, 10 October 2023 00:00

Toenail fungus, known as onychomycosis, is a common condition that results from exposure to an overgrowth of certain fungi in your toenails. These fungi, including dermatophytes and yeast, can be found naturally on the skin or in the environment, possibly as airborne spores. A contributing factor to toenail fungus is a warm and humid environment that promotes fungal growth. If your feet remain damp or sweaty for extended periods, these microbes can thrive and rapidly multiply, leading to an infection. Moreover, any crack or tear in the skin or nail can provide an entry point for the fungi, allowing them to penetrate deeper into the tissue. As the infection progresses, fungal debris accumulates under the nail, causing it to thicken and change color, typically turning yellow, brown, or white. Cracks may develop in the affected nail as it weakens. This infection can become progressively severe if left untreated. Recognizing the common symptoms early and seeking prompt treatment from a podiatrist is essential. If you believe you have toenail fungus, it is suggested that you seek the help of a podiatrist as quickly as possible.

If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, contact Massimo Pietrantoni, DPM of Rochester Podiatry, LLP. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.


  • Warped or oddly shaped nails
  • Yellowish nails
  • Loose/separated nail
  • Buildup of bits and pieces of nail fragments under the nail
  • Brittle, broken, thickened nail


If self-care strategies and over-the-counter medications does not help your fungus, your podiatrist may give you a prescription drug instead. Even if you find relief from your toenail fungus symptoms, you may experience a repeat infection in the future.


In order to prevent getting toenail fungus in the future, you should always make sure to wash your feet with soap and water. After washing, it is important to dry your feet thoroughly especially in between the toes. When trimming your toenails, be sure to trim straight across instead of in a rounded shape. It is crucial not to cover up discolored nails with nail polish because that will prevent your nail from being able to “breathe”.

In some cases, surgical procedure may be needed to remove the toenail fungus. Consult with your podiatrist about the best treatment options for your case of toenail fungus.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Brighton and Greece of Rochester, NY . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.


Read more about Treating Toenail Fungus
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