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What is Onychomycosis? 
Fungal infection of your toenails or fingernails.

How do you contract fungal infection?
Fungal infections of the toenails are very common. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments. Typically it is contracted from stagnant water in the showers of public pools and gyms.

It is most often seen in elderly, those with impaired immune systems, and in people with diabetes and poor peripheral circulation. Other risk factors include occlusive footwear, excessive sweating, nail injury and Athlete’s foot.

What do fungal infections of nails look like?
Normally when fungi infect a nail, they start at its free edge and then spread down the side of the nail towards the base of the cuticle. Eventually, the whole nail may be involved. It may:

  • Look white or yellowish

  • Become thickened and crumbly

  • Have white areas on the nail surface


It most commonly affects the big and little toes but may gradually spread to the rest of the toes.

Treatment of fungal toenails

  • Use topical antifungal treatment as directed with removal of affected nail with clippers or filing.

  • Oral antifungal may be prescribed if the diagnosis of fungal infection is confirmed in the laboratory. However, it is important to note that oral treatments are more likely to cause side effects than topical ones.

  • Laser treatment or photodynamic therapy may be helpful.

  • At-home treatments can be tried (e.g. tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar) but are not clinically proven to treat fungal toenails.

Tips to help with fungal toenails treatment:

  • Maintain good foot hygiene,

    • Keep your nails short, dry and clean. Stick to one nail clipper for the infected nails and another for the normal ones.

    • wear wool blended socks, change to clean socks daily.

    • wear well-ventilated shoes and alternate pairs of shoes to give each pair time to dry after each use. Get rid of really old shoes.

    • put shoes outside in direct sunlight or use tea tree oil spray (or any other antifungal spray) to disinfect shoes.

  • Treat Athlete’s foot if present, do not just treat your nails.

  •  Avoid the spread of infection by cleaning bathrooms well, not sharing towels and wearing thongs in public showers.

  • Do not share socks, shoes or towels with others.

  • Use an antifungal washing powder to wash socks. Washing your socks, bedding and towels in water that is 60°C or higher may also help.

Our Podiatry team have appointments for your convenience.

We have Podiatrists located in Canning Vale and Murdoch.


The first step to managing your foot health is to see our Podiatry team for treatment.

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