Nail Fungus Prevention and Treatment

nail fungus treatment

Over 35 million Americans experience nail fungus according to the National Nail Fungus Foundation, so it’s an issue many people deal with at some point in their lives. Known officially as onychomycosis, it is a common condition that often starts as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. 

The condition is more common in toenails than fingernails. As an infection goes deeper, nail fungus can cause discoloration, thickening, and even crumbling at the edge of your nails. You may experience it on one nail or several.

Why Nail Fungus is Common in Older Patients

We see a lot of older patients who haven’t previously had any experiences with nail fungus start to see the issue arise as they age. While a fungal nail infection can develop at any age, it’s more common in adults ages 60 and over. As your nail ages, it can become brittle and dry. When your nail cracks, that can make it easier for a fungus to enter. 

Can You Avoid Getting it?

The Mayo Clinic shares some risk factors to avoid on its website, such as walking barefoot in public areas with damp floors. So, put on those flip flops when you’re changing in the locker room at the gym. 

You can also take precautionary steps, including:

  • washing your hands and feet regularly
  • wearing sweat-absorbent socks
  • changing your socks throughout the day if you’re active or sweating a lot 

Unfortunately, you may still have nail fungus, especially if you are older, sweat heavily, have a history of athlete’s foot, have psoriasis, or experience circulation problems.

A fungal infection in your toenail can stem from athlete’s foot (foot fungus) and spread to other nails. It isn’t common to get a nail infection from someone else.

What to Do if You Have Nail Fungus

If your nail fungus is mild and doesn’t bother you, it’s not always necessary to get treatment. However, you may want to take steps to care for it if your nail fungus is painful or your nails start thickening. 

If you experience a fungal infection between your toes and the skin of your feet, you’re experiencing athlete’s foot.

Treating Nail Fungus

Some common treatments of fungus in finger and toenails include:

· Oral medications: These are often the first choice because they usually act more quickly than other topical treatments. Lamisil and Sporanox are two oral treatments that help you grow new nails free of infection.

· Topical medications: You may get over the counter or prescription cream to rub on your nails.

· Medicated nail polishes: There are medicated nail polishes your Doctor may prescribe to paint on infected nails. They may take longer to work, though. 

Meeting with a Trusted Provider

If you’re concerned about nail fungus (or any other issues that impact your skin), schedule an appointment with a Dermatologist or Skin Care Provider. 

You also may want to see a Doctor if at-home steps aren’t helping or your nail becomes increasingly discolored, thickened or deformed. Anyone with diabetes who thinks they’re developing a nail fungus should also see a Doctor.

Getting an annual skin care exam will help your Skin Care Provider keep an eye on any issues and provide suggestions to you on how to address them. Learn more about other common skin conditions here.