All Podiatry Group is now Modern Foot & Ankle. For Brandon Office Click Here

All Podiatry Group is now Modern Foot & Ankle. For Tampa Office Click Here

Prism Podiatry is now Modern Foot & Ankle.


Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is an infection underneath the surface of the nail caused by fungi. The fungus causes the nail to become darker in color and smell foul. Debris often collects underneath the nail, making it appear thick and become painful. If ignored, the infection can spread. The resulting thicker nails are difficult to trim and make walking painful when wearing shoes. Long-standing onychomycosis can also be accompanied by a secondary bacterial or yeast infection.


Toenails are vulnerable to fungal infection.  The most common ways of developing a fungal nail includes:

  • Walking barefoot around swimming pools, locker rooms, and shower, which helps transmit fungus from the ground to the feet.
  • Injury to the nail bed may make it more susceptible to all types of infection, including fungal infection.
  • Those who suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immune-deficiency conditions, are also prone to fungal nails.
  • Other contributing factors may be a history of athlete’s foot and excessive perspiration.


  • Toenail fungus is often ignored because the infection can be present for years without causing any pain.
  • The toenail may have a change in quality and color. The nail may appear very dull and dark.
  • More severe fungal nails may be thickened and painful.
  • The nail may be separating from the nail bed due to fungal debris under the nail


You should visit our office when you notice any discoloration, thickening, or deformity of your toenails. The earlier you seek professional treatment, the greater your chance at getting your nails to clear.


Treatments may vary, depending on the nature and severity of the infection. The first steps in treating a fungal infection are to culture the nail, determine the cause, and form a suitable treatment plan. Common conservative care includes:

Topical or Oral Medication—New medications on the market can be applied directly to the nail. Topical solutions however take many months to a year of daily applications to see success.

Debridement—Removal of diseased nail matter and debris of an infected nail.

Temporary Removal of Nail—In some cases, surgical treatment may be required. Temporary removal of the infected nail can be performed to permit direct application of a topical antifungal.

Permanent Removal—A chronically painful nail that has not responded to any other treatment permits the fungal infection to be cured and prevents the return of a deformed nail.

Trying to solve the infection without the qualified help of a podiatrist can lead to additional problems. With new technical advances in combination with simple preventive measures, the treatment of this lightly-regarded health problem can often be successful.