Preventing and Treating Fungal Toenails


Do you have a toenail that is thick and yellowish in color? Are the edges of the nail crumbly and flaky? If yes, chances are high that you have a developed a fungal infection in your nail. At Goldsmith Podiatry this is a condition we treat frequently.

How Did I Get a Fungal Infection?

Fungal infections thrive in warm, moist places. They are also very contagious and are easily spread from person to person by direct contact. Many patients pick up a fungal toenail infection at the nail salon, gym locker room, community pool or from their own shoes. Fungal nails can even be the result of a case of athlete’s foot that you have, spreading from the skin on your feet to your toenails. In addition, people with chronic health problems that affect the immune system, such as diabetes, are at a higher risk of contracting a fungal infection. Fungal toenails can also occur after a trauma to the toe.

Avoiding Toenail Infections

Once you know where fungus grows and how it is transmitted, it’s easy to take steps to prevent them. These include:

  • Keep your feet covered in public places where people are likely to go barefoot. This means wearing shower shoes or flip-flopsat all times at the gym, salon, and in communal shower areas.

  • Stay dry. Wet or sweaty feet are much more likely to develop a fungal infection. Change your socks as soon as you notice they are damp. Use a talcum or anti-fungal foot powder each morning before putting your socks on if you perspire excessively.

  • Practice good foot hygiene. Washing your feet every day with soap and water and then drying them completely can go a long way to preventing fungal and bacterial foot infections.

  • Do not share socks, shoes, nail clippers, towels or any other item that touches other people’s feet. 

  • Wear socks and shoes made of breathable materials that allow air to circulate.

  • Rotate your shoes and try not to wear the same pair two days in a row.

Treatment Options

If, despite your best efforts, you end up with a fungal toenail, our podiatrists, Dr. Howard Goldsmith and Dr. Rosanna Troia will examine your feet and determine the best course of treatment. We offer laser treatment for fungal toenails which is painless and can help clear up the infection. Topical and oral medications are also available. If you think you may have a fungal toenail, contact our New York City office today by calling 212-877-1002 or schedule an appointment online.