Up to 14% of Americans have fungal nail infections. It’s a common foot problem that makes toenails thick, brittle, and discolored.

While most fungal nail infections aren’t serious, they can sometimes be painful or embarrassing. David B. Glover, DPM, FACFAS, and our team at Mountain View Foot & Ankle Institute can help clear up the infection and heal your nails.

Here’s what you need to know about your toenail fungus treatment options.

The basics of toenail fungus

Fungal infections start when fungi, which naturally live in the environment, enter your body through a crack in your nail or skin. The warm, moist environment under your nail triggers fungi overgrowth, and an infection develops.

A toenail fungal infection usually starts as a small, discolored spot on the nail. The infection grows over time, and it can make your nails:

  • Brittle
  • Crumbly
  • Discolored
  • Thickened
  • Smelly

Sometimes, toenail fungus make the nail separate from the toe. Furthermore, it can affect just one toenail or several.

Athlete’s foot is another common foot problem that’s closely related to toenail fungus. While toenail fungus grows under the toenails, athlete’s foot develops when fungi infect the skin between the toes.

How to get rid of toenail fungus

Fungal infections usually don’t go away on their own, and a toenail fungal infection can spread to the skin if it’s left untreated. If you have toe pain or you’re bothered by the appearance of your toenails, make an appointment with Dr. Glover.

First, he examines your toenails. Then, he might take a sample of a nail for testing. Once he diagnoses your toenail fungus, he tells you about your treatment options. Depending on your case, he might recommend either of the following:

Topical toenail fungus treatment

If you have a mild fungal infection, Dr. Glover may prescribe topical antifungal cream. You apply the medicated cream to the surface of your nail, and it penetrates your nail to treat the infection.

Topical toenail fungus treatments aren’t very effective for people with thick nails or severe infections. Topical antifungals can also cause side effects, such as skin rashes.

Laser toenail fungus treatment

Most of the time, Dr. Glover prescribes laser treatment for toenail fungus, because it’s safe and effective. The laser light penetrates the surface of your nail and destroys the fungus below. The treatment isn’t painful, and it doesn’t damage surrounding skin.

Dr. Glover may recommend a few laser treatment sessions to eradicate the nail fungus. Once the treatments are done, your nails should heal and your symptoms should disappear.

You don’t have to live with toenail fungus. To get treatment that works, call 801-383-2189 or book an appointment online with Mountain View Foot & Ankle Institute today.