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Call: 281.497.2850

Robert G. Parker, DPM, FACFAS, FASPS, PA
14441 Memorial Drive, Suite 16, Houston, TX 77079

Causes of Toenail Fungus

Dr. Robert Parker explains causes of toenail fungus

Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is an infection located in the toenails that is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes, yeast, and mold. There are several causes of toenail fungus, which is more common on toenails than on fingernails.

Your feet are the perfect place for nail fungus to live!

Fungi grow and thrive in dark, warm, and moist areas. For this reason, the feet are the perfect place. Sweat and darkness are inevitable when feet are covered by shoes all day. Feet that are excessively sweaty are more likely to develop fungal infections. Shoes and socks that have come into contact with fungi can also infect a toenail.

Public areas

These fungi enter the nail or skin through extremely tiny openings from cuts and scratches in your nail bed, and through small openings between your nail and the bed. Once there, the dark environment provides the perfect place to grow. This condition is extremely contagious, and can be picked up in areas like public swimming pools, locker rooms, and gyms. These areas have a lot of foot traffic, are moist, and are usually not very well aired out. Once the fungus has entered your feet, it is very stubborn and hard to kill.

Risk factors

Several conditions may predispose your nails, and make you more at risk for developing fungal toenails. Diseases like diabetes and AIDS affect the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight the infection. Further, decreased or poor circulation to the toes can also reduce the ability to fight off infection.

Aging is a large factor for this condition, as the nails become more brittle and take longer to grow. They also become thicker. Diminished circulation is also common in older age.

If you work in a humid or moist environment, you are at an increased risk for nail fungus. Working in these types of environments allows the feet to become wet and don’t allow them to air out and dry.

If you have other fungal or bacterial infections, such as athlete’s foot, you are at a greater risk as well. Fungal infections are highly contagious, and can spread from toe to toe, as well as from skin to nail (and vice-versa).

Dr. Robert Parker was the first podiatrist in Houston, Texas, to implement and use laser treatment for toenail fungus. As an experienced and knowledgeable professional, he uses the “Ferrari” of nail lasers—the Fotona Laser.

For more information on the causes of nail fungus and laser therapy, call our office at (281) 497-2850 or schedule a time online for a consultation appointment.