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Podiatrist - Washington
853 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA 15301
(724) 225-7410
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By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
July 05, 2016

The most common cause of fungal toenails is dermatophyte fungus. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments and are spread by direct contact. This description fits many favorite summer hangouts: the pool, nail salon, changing area and rest rooms at the beach, etc. That’s why summer is a season where we at Philip S. Pinsker, DPM see an increase in cases of fungal toenails.

In addition to going barefoot in areas where the virus is likely to be found, there are other factors that increase your risk of developing a fungal nail infection. These include:

  • Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, weakened immune system, Down syndrome, poor circulation

  • Sweating profusely

  • Being male, particularly if fungal infections run in your family

  • Already having athlete’s foot

  • Wearing shoes and socks that don’t allow for good air circulation and sweat absorption

  • Sharing living space with someone who has a nail fungus

  • Skin conditions such as psoriasis, hang nail, ingrown nail or injury to the nail

Signs of Fungal Nails

The first sign that you may have been infected by a fungus is that your nail may develop a small white spot. As time goes on, the entire nail may become discolored. It will also thicken and become brittle and crumbly particularly on the edges. The nail may eventually begin to separate from the nail bed, totally distorting the nail. Left untreated, the fungal infection can spread to other nails and there may also be a foul smell coming from the nail.

Our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker, will want to examine your nail and may send some of the debris from under you nail to the lab for analysis. Yeast and bacteria can also cause infections and knowing the exact source of the infection will help the foot doctor determine the most targeted and effective treatment.

Once the foot doctor confirms a diagnosis he will suggest the best treatment for you. Fungal nails can be slow to clear up. If you suspect something is wrong with one of your toenails, contact our Washington office for an appointment.

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