Unsightly, yellow toenails can make you feel self-conscious and inhibit your ability to wear your favorite shoes. Not only is nail fungus an ugly condition, it is highly contagious and can be spread from person to person. At Piedmont Plastic Surgery & Dermatology, we’re here to help you restore your nails to health and help prevent further infection.

What is Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus can begin as a small white or yellow spot on the fingernail or toenail. As the condition progresses, the nail can become thick, yellow, hardened, and jagged at the edges. Nail fungi may affect multiple nails or just one nail. While nail fungus can affect fingernails, appears most commonly on the toenails.

What Causes Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus may be caused by a variety of fungi but is most often caused by “dermatophyte fungus.” It may also be caused by certain molds and yeast. Nail fungus is very contagious and may be spread from one person to another and often afflicts older people. As your nailbeds age, the nails produced are often cracked and dry. Fungi can harbor in the cracks of the toenails and grow when one is wearing socks and shoes. Other risk factors for nail fungus include:

  • Diabetes or other diseases which lead to circulation issues
  • Walking barefoot in common areas such as swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers
  • Having a skin condition or injury to the nail
  • Excess sweating
  • Athlete’s foot

How is Nail Fungus Treated?

When left untreated, nail fungus can cause permanent damage to the nail bed. As nail fungus can be difficult to treat, you should speak to your dermatologist at Piedmont Plastic Surgery & Dermatology as soon as you see changes in your nails. A combination of over-the-counter creams and ointments, self-care remedies, and prescription anti-fungal medication may be necessary to clear the infection completely.