a before and after. on the left, the big toe is thick and discolored because of a fungal infection. On the right, the big toe has been healed of any infection and looks clean.Fungal infections of the toenails are one of the most common complaints we see in the office. Skin, nail, and hair-loving organisms that are also responsible for athlete's foot and ringworm are the culprit. They can be caused by many things, but here are a few of the main causes:

  • Cross contamination: If you live with someone suffering from a fungal infections, that infection can be transferred to you. Additionally, it can be transferred from the skin if you have athletes foot, or even from other toenails if you use the same clippers on fungal and non-fungal nails.
  • Nail Salons: We all love an occasional pedicure, but traditional nail salons don't always sanitize their instruments between clients. Bacteria in the water basins used to soak your feet can infiltrate your nailbed and cause thickening and discoloration of the nails. Learn more about safe, sterile pedicures here.
  • Sweaty Shoes: Wearing damp, sweaty shoes for prolonged periods. We often see this with laborers who spend their days wearing sweaty steel-toed boots.
  • Going Barefoot: We are all down for some occasional grounding. Feeling the earth on your barefeet actually has a ton of health benefits! While acknowledging that, it's important to note that you should never go barefoot in communal bathrooms or showers. 
  • Reduced Circulation: The elderly and those with diabetes are more prone to fungal infections. The reduced circulation makes it more difficult for the body to send infection-fighting cells to the area to eradicate the problem.

Even if you are careful to avoid the causes we just listed, it's not unlikely that you still end up with fungal toenails. And embarassment can often lead to you not seeking care. We are here to tell you: there is nothing to be ashamed of. Fungal toenails are common and, more importantly, treatable. We offer several options for eradicating fungal toenails and can work with you to make the infection go away and stay away. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and see why Freeland Foot and Ankle Clinic is Mid-Michigan's go-to place for getting rid of fungal toenails.