Unfortunately, the answer to the question of whether toenail fungus to spread to other toes is a definite yes. And not only can it spread to more of your toes, it can also spread to your fingernails, your skin, and other people as well!
Yes, many types of toenail fungi, including tinea unguium, are quite contagious. You can spread the fungus to someone else through direct contact. You can also get toenail fungus by touching an infected surface.
Fungal nail infections usually affect your toenails, but you can get them on your fingernails, too. Fungal nail infections sometimes start at the edge of the nail. The infection often spreads to the middle of the nail, making the nail discoloured and sometimes thicker in parts.
Toenail infections, like other infections, are caused by tiny microscopic organisms living where they're not supposed to be. In the case of toenails, these organisms are often fungi, like yeasts and molds. These invaders can live in the layer of dead skin cells around and underneath your toenails.
Fungal nail infections typically don't go away on their own, and the best treatment is usually prescription antifungal pills taken by mouth. In severe cases, a healthcare professional might remove the nail completely. It can take several months to a year for the infection to go away.
Oral antifungal drugs.
These drugs are often the first choice. One option is itraconazole (Sporanox). These drugs help a new nail grow free of infection, slowly replacing the infected part. You typically take this type of drug daily for 6 to 12 weeks.
Nail removal: If you have a severe infection or other treatments just don't work, your dermatologist may recommend removing the nail(s) to get rid of the infection.
Nail polish gives fungus an environment to thrive in. Non-medicated nail polish can be applied over antifungal nail polish. But it is best to avoid non-medicated nail polish entirely when you want your fungal infection to clear up. Non-medicated nail polish will make the antifungal treatment penetrate the nails slower.
Created: January 14, 2015; Last Update: June 14, 2018; Next update: 2021. Nail fungus can be very persistent. Topical treatment with nail polish may take up to one year.
Symptoms of a nail fungal infection
Discolored (usually white or yellow) Brittle. Crumbly, or have rough, jagged edges. Thick.
Fungal Nail Infection Symptoms
They usually start mild and get more serious. At first, you may only see a white or yellow spot under your nail. Over time, this spreads and can turn your whole nail white, yellow, green, or black. The nail may thicken and could be hard to trim.
6. Disinfect regularly. Scrub your shower and disinfect it with a bleach-based cleanser, Andersen says. Spray your shoes with an antibacterial spray, especially if you've worn them without socks, and wash all socks in hot water with bleach to kill any fungi.
Answer by dermatologist Corey Georgesen, MD:
Toenail fungus doesn't usually spread to inside your body, like the stomach. The fungi require keratin, found in your hair, skin and nails. They survive best on the skin.
Fungal spores can live on all kinds of surfaces, including metal toenail clippers for months. When you cut your fungal nail with your clippers, you can easily transmit the fungi to your other toenails or reinfect yourself. In fact, the CDC recommends properly disinfecting all nail tools before every use.
It begins as a white or yellow-brown spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection goes deeper, the nail may discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge. Nail fungus can affect several nails. If your condition is mild and not bothering you, you may not need treatment.
Effective products include efinaconazole (Jublia), tavaborole (Kerydin) and ciclopirox (Penlac). All require daily applications, and it may take as long as a year to see noticeable improvement. These products may work for early, superficial fungal infections because they kill fungi on the surface of the nail.
The fastest way to eliminate the infection is through toenail laser treatment. Laser nail therapy specifically targets the microorganisms under your nail while leaving the keratin intact. In just a few treatments, the infection can be entirely eliminated.
Tea tree oil is commonly used to treat acne, athlete's foot, lice, nail fungus and insect bites.
Lamisil Terbinafine Antifungal Cream treats fungus all over the body, including athlete's foot, making it the best overall choice. The Fungi Nail Anti-Fungal Ointment is infused with five oils and makes for a budget-friendly option.
Toenails and fingernails protect your skin, but you might lose a nail due to trauma, fungus, or other reasons. Most nails grow back, although the rate of regrowth can vary from person to person. It might take several months or a year to grow back.