Fungal Toenail Infections: A Guide

Fungal infections on your feet can be very annoying. If the infection spreads to your toenails, you may develop fungal toenails. Below is a guide to everything you need to know about fungal toenail infections.

Risk Factors

The following things can all put you at risk of developing a fungal toenail infection:

  • Wearing shoes indoors: This causes your feet to sweat, creating the ideal conditions for fungi to grow.
  • Damaged toenails: If you have sustained damage to a toenail, this may make the area more susceptible to fungal infections.
  • Weakened immune system: If you are run down, your body may not be able to fight a fungal nail infection.
  • Going barefoot in public: Exposing your feet in communal areas such as swimming pools and showers can expose your toenails to fungi spores.


There are 3 main symptoms indicate you may have a fungal toenail infection, these are:

  • Discoloured or thickened toenails
  • Brittle and crumbling toenails
  • Localised pain in the affected toenail 

Treatment Options

If you think your toenails may be infected by fungi, you should visit a podiatrist. The podiatrist will carry out an inspection of your nails and may send a sample to be analysed in a lab. If it is established that you have a fungal infection, the podiatrist will typically offer one of three treatment options. 

Antifungal Paint

Antifungal paint is a solution which is a clear liquid which is applied in the same way as nail varnish. The paint contains a specialised antifungal agent which will begin to destroy the fungi growing on the nail. While this is an inexpensive treatment option, it can take an extended period of time to be successful as the treatment relies on new toenail growth. 

Laser Treatment

During laser treatment, a low-powered laser is directed at the infected nail for a few minutes during every treatment session. The light energy contained within the laser beam will eventually kill the fungi on each nail.

Antifungal Tablets

For acute infections, your podiatrist may prescribe antifungal tablets. Antifungal tablets contain medicine which is designed to kill any fungal growth. This medicine enters your bloodstream and is transported to the site of the infection. However, it is important to aware that the medication can have side effects such as stomach pain, diarrhoea and headache.

If you have any concerns about the health of your feet, you should book an appointment to see a podiatrist today.