Don't Ignore Toenail Fungus

Looking the other way, turning the other cheek or just plain ignoring a toe nail fungus that is already thriving on one or more of your toenails is certain to cause a cauldron of trouble, leading to an infection of the toe itself that worsens every day. 

If that isn’t scary enough, the rest of the body can also be up for fungal grabs, and they, in infected turn, open a nasty door to many other problems that can include: a permanent loss of the nail, a reappearance of the infection; the development of a bacterial infection and the spread of the infection into the bloodstream.

What Is A Toe Nail Fungus And What Causes Them?

Nail fungus is also known as onychomycosis. It is an extremely common and contagious infection that begins as a white or yellow brown spot found under the tip of the toenail. It can affect one or several nails.

A toe fungus is not something to mess with or ignore because it can be difficult to cure, and treatment is most successful in the early stages of its development.

This fungus never rides off into the sunset alone (if fungi could ride, that is), and often returns to the scene of the crime. 

According to the expert clinicians at JAWS Podiatry, nail fungus is caused by various tiny, microscopic organisms including: dermatophytes; yeast; bacteria and molds that thrive in warm moist areas, like sweaty socks and shoes, and sharing infected towels or nail clippers.

Skin to skin contact by walking barefoot on a gym floor, pool or locker room can also spread athlete’s foot.

These fungi can gain ingress into your poor, innocent nail via a small cut in the surrounding skin, a crack in a nail or separation between the toenail or toe. 

Underneath the nail is a warm moist haven for growth and the possible spread to other nails and the skin. 

Other Contributing Factors

Other potential causes of toe-nail fungus include:wearing shoes with closed toes; getting pedicures with unsterilized tools; having a chronic illness such as: diabetes or HIV; deformed nails or a disease affecting nails.

What are The Symptoms of A Toe Nail Fungus?

You know you have a nail fungus if one of more of your nails are thickened, discolored, brittle or ragged, deformed, separated from the nail bed or just plain smelly.

If these symptoms worsen, it is time to call the experts at JAWS Podiatry, south Florida’s cutting edge foot and ankle treatment center.

Toe nail fungus can be a particularly serious situation if you are diabetic, have trouble walking, experience bleeding or painful swelling around the nail.

If left to develop further, the fungal infection can discolor the nail and cause it to thicken and crumble at the edges.

Treatments For Toe Nail Fungus

If your condition is mild, does not involve an infection and is not causing any discomfort, no treatment may be necessary.

More often, however, a toe fungus is infected and painful. It is usually treated with three consistent months of prescription anti-fungal pills.

It can take from several months to a year for the infection to go away completely, and even if treatment is successful, nail infections often return.

In severe instances, the experts at JAWS Podiatry may need to remove the nail completely. 

The Various Types of Toe Nail Fungus

Fungal nail infections are caused by the myriad of fungi that thrive within out environment. Below are the main categories.


This mold causes 90% of all fungal infections, which are collectively known as tines unguium. Microscopic, these tiny organisms feed upon the protein found in both fingernails and toenails that is known as keratin.

Highly contagious, this fungus spreads quickly and easily either by direct contact or by touching a surface that is infected.

The Toe Web Type

This usually occurs in the area between the fourth and fifth toes.

The first sign of this fungus is usually an alteration in the texture and color of the skin, which will seem moist, pale and white. It is often accompanied by itching and burning sensations and a slight but distinct odor.

If left untreated, the skin between the toes will become rough, peel and eventually split. 

Onychomycosis Fungus

Known more simply as Toe Nail Fungus, this condition often arises after a cut or crack in a toenail occurs. It is estimated that one out of every ten people and one out of every two over the age of 70 are affected by this fungus.

A painful condition that usually affects the big toe, it begins with a small, yellowish brown spot under the tip of the toe nail.

As the infection spreads, the nail becomes thick, changes shape and may fall apart at the edges. The fungus can also spread to other nails if left unchecked. 


Affecting the tissue folds surrounding the toe nail, this fungus, which also known as Candida paronychia, causes pain, swelling and inflammation.

In the worst of instances, pus will appear, and the nail itself may separate from a discolored nail bed. Skin-to-skin contact with someone who has athlete’s foot or ringworm is the most common means of contracting this unpleasant fungus.

It can also occur from walking barefoot in communal locker rooms, pool areas or shower floors. Recommended treatment usually involves hot water soaks and anti-fungal or antibiotic medications.

The professionals at JAWS Podiatry may need to professionally drain pus. 

Other Molds

Fusarium Solani is a plant species complex containing at least 26 diverse soil fungi. It is responsible for the majority of toenail fungus cases, the numbers of which have strangely increased over the decades.

It first appears as a yellowish or white dot on the nail, which slowly increases in size.

Without treatment at this point, the mold fungus will gain a foothold underneath the nail, and can loosen and separate from the nail bed. 

Unchecked, it can spread even further to the skin surrounding the nail.

Jaws Podiatry – Your Foot and Ankle Specialists

Situated in Hollywood, Florida, we are an innovative lower extremity treatment center, which is headed by highly acclaimed DPM, Dr. Abraham Wagner, and his dedicated staff of clinicians.

Although we specialize in surgical procedures for patients living in Miami-Dade, Broward and beyond, our clients hail from all parts of the nation and the world, driven by our stellar reputation and high rate of success.

Our collective of caring professionals offers customized treatment plans for all of our patients and their particular needs.

Services include: podiatric care, treatment and therapy, foot and ankle surgical procedures, regenerative medicine, platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy and an extensive array of minimally-invasive, cosmetic foot surgeries.

In summation, avoiding treatment for a toe nail fungus is like ignoring traffic lights. They are there and they change for a reason.

Seek professional advice if you have pain because in the end, it is always what you don’t know and fear to face that can hurt you. 

Call our teams today. We’re always here to help!