Toenail fungus, more technically known as onychomycosis, isn’t just a risk for your own feet. Toenail fungus problems can also absolutely be contagious!
If you see symptoms like nail thickening, yellowing, or the appearance of white spots and streaks, get in touch with Dr. Leonard Greenwald and his expert podiatry team. Dr. Greenwald sees new and existing patients with toenail care needs from his medical practice in San Jose, California.
What is toenail fungus?
Toenail fungus is an infection that causes the toenail to discolor, thicken, and crumble. When you develop a toenail fungus, fungi enter the space between your toenail and the nail bed of tissue located beneath your nail, often through a cut or crack.
Fungus can live in a wide variety of environments, including your toenails and, more rarely, even your fingernails. The warm, damp environment beneath your nail provides a place for the fungus to live.
You’re more likely to find yourself dealing with toenail fungus issues as you get older, and you may notice that these problems become more stubborn and hard to get rid of as you age.
Is toenail fungus contagious?
There are multiple types of fungi that can affect your toenails. Many types are contagious.
Toenail fungus can spread through direct contact with someone else who is infected, or by touching an infected surface. Areas like the floors around public swimming pools or the bottoms of locker room showers are common places for infection to take place.
If someone in your household has foot or toenail fungus, avoid infection by using shower shoes or flip flops in shared areas, or use separate bathrooms to bathe or shower.
Preventing toenail fungus
In order to prevent toenail fungus, take care when walking barefoot in the types of warm, damp environments where fungi can thrive.
If you have a toenail fungus, you should know that, while it is technically possible for the infection to spread to other areas of your body, it’s not likely to spread beyond the one affected toe.
Some types of fungi can spread to affect other areas of your body. Dermatophyte fungi infection in your skin is known as ringworm, or athlete’s foot when located in the skin between your toes. Fungal infection in your groin area is sometimes known as jock itch.
Addressing toenail fungus
While toenail fungus isn’t typically painful, it can be unsightly and create issues for you with certain types of footwear.
Dr. Greenwald can help with persistent toenail fungus issues. After confirming your toenail fungus diagnosis, we put together a treatment plan for your nails including options such as:
- Topical medication applied nightly directly to the surface of your nail
- Oral antifungal prescription medications taken daily for several months
Oral and topical antifungal medications can also work together to more effectively eradicate your infection.
For help getting your toenail fungus under control, contact Dr. Greenwald today. Schedule your appointment over the phone, or request an appointment online at your convenience.