Tuesday, 29 March 2022 00:00

What Causes a Toenail Infection?

Onychomycosis is the medical term for a fungal nail infection. Onychomycosis can occur in both fingernails and toenails; however, it occurs more commonly in toenails. This infection can cause your toenails to become discolored, hardened, brittle, crumbled, thickened, and distorted. In some cases, the infection can even spread to the surrounding skin making it red, cracked, swollen or itchy. The fungal organisms that cause onychomycosis love warm, moist, and dark places, which is why it is wise to keep your feet clean and dry. You should never share personal items like towels, shoes, or nail clippers, and avoid going barefoot in locker rooms, communal showers, and public pool areas. Also, if you get your nails done in a salon, make sure they sterilize their equipment properly. Toenail infections can be difficult to treat at home since they can get deep into the layers of the nail, or even underneath the nail. A podiatrist can offer a variety of professional treatments for toenail infections, including prescription topical and oral medicines, laser therapy, or even debridement.

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 Dr. Dean D. Hinners of Illinois. 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 Metropolis and Eldorado, IL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.


Read more about Toenail Fungus