Is Toenail Fungus Contagious?

While typically not painful, toenail fungus can make your nails thick and crumbly. If you have fungal nails, the last thing you want to do is spread the infection to someone else.

At Alpine Foot & Ankle in Sandy and Highland, Utah, our double board-certified podiatrist Scott Shelton, DPM, specializes in fast, effective treatments for toenail fungus.

In addition to improving the health of your nails, Dr. Shelton can also provide guidance to prevent the infection from spreading to others.

What to know about toenail fungus

Fungus can settle into your toenails when fungus enters your body through cracks in your skin and infiltrates your nail tissue. You may be at increased risk for fungal infections if you’re over 65 or have issues like:

  • Diabetes
  • Toenail injuries
  • Excessive sweating
  • Poor blood circulation
  • History of athlete’s foot

Often, the infection first appears as a small white spot on your nail. Over time, the infection can worsen and causes your nails to become thick, yellowed, and crumbly. Some toenails will also turn darker and appear ragged.

You may also notice a bad odor coming from your feet when you remove your socks and shoes due to the fungal infection.

How fungal infections spread

Without treatment, the fungus can easily spread to your other toes, groin, and scalp.

The infection can also spread to others if you walk barefoot in public showers, pools, and other facilities. Being in public places without shoes is also the most common way people develop toenail fungus infections.

The infection can also circulate in your home if you go barefoot or make skin-to-skin contact with your family. Sharing infected nail clippers, towels, and other objects may increase the likelihood of the infection spreading.

To stop the spread of toenail fungus, it’s important that you schedule a diagnostic evaluation at Alpine Foot & Ankle to get the treatment you need. You should also avoid walking barefoot and sharing personal items.

Treating toenail fungus

There are many treatment options available to clear a fungal infection in your toenails. Often, Dr. Shelton recommends a medicated nail polish to kill the fungus and improve your nail health. He may also prescribe an oral antifungal medication like Tolcylen™.

As you start your treatment, be sure to keep your feet clean and dry and change out of sweaty socks and shoes as soon as possible. You should also wash your hands thoroughly after touching your nails to prevent the infection from spreading to other areas of your body.

When your nails become healthier, be sure to follow the guidelines for proper trimming. Cut your nails straight across and use a file to carefully remove sharp edges to prevent ingrown toenails. Any damage to your nails can result in another infection.

We can also suggest products to keep your feet and the skin in between your toes moisturized to prevent cracking.

If your nails are discolored or brittle, don’t put off an evaluation. Call the Alpine Foot & Ankle office near you to schedule an appointment or book a consultation online today.

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If you do not see your insurance provider, contact our office.

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