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Is Toenail Fungus Contagious?

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

Toenail fungus is a common condition that frequently targets toenails. Fungal nails, known as onychomycosis, are caused by a type of mold called a dermatophyte, which leads to tinea unguium. While toenail fungus is not typically a serious condition, it is uncomfortable and unsightly. The type of fungus that grows in the nails leads to thick, yellow, or brittle nails with white spots or streaks.


Many people wonder if toenail fungus is contagious and how it might spread. If you believe you’re experiencing fungal nails, seek treatment and diagnosis from a licensed chiropodist. Over-the-counter medicines are generally not effective for fungal nail treatment.


Are Fungal Nails Contagious?

Unfortunately, yes! Toenail fungus is indeed contagious. It can spread through direct contact with an infected person or through contact with infected surfaces. The mold that causes fungal nails will thrive in warm, damp environments, so it is often found in places like showers, locker rooms, and public pools. If you come into contact with an infected surface, you could develop fungal nails.


Since toenail fungus is contagious, it’s best to avoid walking barefoot in public areas while you’re infected. When using a public locker room or a public shower, you should cover your feet with shower sandals. Practice good hygiene as well. This means washing your hands and feet regularly, drying them thoroughly, and avoiding sharing personal care items like towels and nail clippers.


Is It Hard to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus?

Once you have the fungus on your nails or toes, it can be difficult to get rid of since toenail fungus is contagious and will cling to whatever surfaces it can. The fungus can spread from one nail to another as well as to common areas of your home if you walk barefoot.


If you suspect you have fungal nails, we advise you to treat the infection as soon as possible. A chiropodist at Qureshy Foot & Orthotic Clinic will properly treat your fungal nails and may prescribe antifungal medication. Thankfully, fungal nail treatments are relatively painless.


In addition to seeing a doctor, there are a few things you can do at home to help prevent the spread of fungal nails to your family members. These include:

  • Avoid going barefoot in places such as showers, locker rooms, and public pools. Wear flip-flops or shower shoes to protect your feet.

  • Keep your feet clean and dry. Wash your feet daily and always dry them thoroughly.

  • Avoid sharing personal care items, such as towels and nail clippers. If you must share these items, disinfect them before and after use.

  • Trim your toenails regularly and keep them trimmed short. This can help prevent the fungus from spreading to other nails.

  • Wear socks made from moisture-wicking material. This can help keep your feet dry and prevent the growth of fungus.

While fungal nails are not a serious health concern, they can be uncomfortable and may even reduce your mobility. Toenail fungus is contagious and should be treated. If you suspect you have fungal nails, book an appointment at Qureshy Foot & Orthotic Clinic. By practicing good hygiene and taking steps to prevent the spread of the fungus, you can keep yourself and your family members healthy.


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