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Is Toenail Fungus Contagious?

Spring is here, and you’re looking forward to letting your feet see the light of day again. Unfortunately, fungi are lying in wait, and they’re looking for a host — namely your feet and toenails. 

To avoid contracting toenail fungus this spring (or any time of year), you remain vigilant about protecting your feet against this fungal infection.

To help ward off toenail fungus, the highly qualified podiatry team here at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle thought we’d outline a few prevention techniques to keep your feet looking great this spring and summer. As part of this discussion, we take a look at whether toenail fungus is contagious and how we can treat the problem should you become infected.

A self-contained infection

To get right to the question we pose in the title of this blog about whether toenail fungus is contagious, the short answer is Yes and No.

Toenail fungus is caused by fungi that lurk in warm, moist, dark places, such as locker rooms and public swimming pools. These fungi enter your toenails around the edges or through small fissures or cracks. Once they invade your toenail, an infection can take hold that causes your toenails to become:

In advanced cases, the infection can cause your nails to separate from their nail beds, and it can also permanently distort the shape of your toenails.

Toenail fungus can be considered contagious insofar as it can spread among your own toenails and even infect your fingernails. You can also transfer the fungal infection to someone else by sharing towels, socks, etc. In these cases, the fungi are transferred, not the infection, so direct person-to-person infection is rare.

Preventing toenail fungus

As we mentioned, toenail fungus isn’t necessarily dangerous, but there are exceptions, such as those who have diabetes. In all cases, however, this fungal infection is an extremely stubborn one, which makes prevention the best practice.

To avoid encountering infection-causing fungi, you’d do well to:

Another important prevention technique is to inspect your toenails frequently and take action the moment you spot something suspicious. Toenail fungus often starts as a small white or yellowish spot in your toenail. By recognizing the early signs of a fungal infection, you can take swift action to prevent the problem from compromising your entire nail, as well as your neighboring toenails.

Treating toenail fungus

If you develop a fungal infection, we reiterate the importance of coming to see us right away. Depending upon the extent of the problem, we can set you up with the tools you need to clear the infection, including:

If you’d like to learn more about treating toenail fungus, schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, or Lebanon, Tennessee.

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