Fungal Infections of Nails

Fungal nail infections are a relatively common concern that will rarely resolve without treatment. These infections can affect the fingernails or toenails and cause discoloration, thickening, cracking, or, in severe cases, pain and separation from the nail bed. In addition, patients who deal with fungal nail infections are also frequently affected by infections in the surrounding skin. Thankfully, these issues are easily and effectively treated with antifungal medications as prescribed by a dermatologist. Patients in Glenview, Illinois and the surrounding area can turn to Dr. Damstetter and the Reserve Dermatology team for effective care when they experience fungal nail infections.

What are Fungal Nail Infections?

A fungal nail infection is a common issue for many people. These infections occur when a fungus causes the nails to become discolored, thickened, or crack and break. Fungal nail infections are more common in the toenails, but can occur in the fingernails as well.

Fungal Nail Infection Causes

Fungal nail infections are caused by various types of molds or yeasts which live within the nail environment. Typically, small cracks in the nails or surrounding skin can foster fungal growth. Fungal nail infections are often spread in public places that are warm and wet, such as a public pool, locker room, or shower. They can also be spread by sharing nail clippers or others or at nail salons that do not properly sterilize equipment.

Fungal nail infections are more common among older adults and can occur alongside athlete’s foot, a nail injury, diabetes, blood circulation issues, or a weakened immune system.

Liz Damstetter, MD

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Meet the Doctor

Common Symptoms of Fungal Nail Infections

Fungal nail infections are typically not painful unless the infection becomes severe. However, the nails will typically become discolored, appearing brown, white, or yellow. They will also typically change in texture, growing either thicker or more brittle. The nails can also crack, crumble, or become separated from the nail bed. In many cases, patients with fungal toenail infections will also suffer from skin infections on the foot, such as athlete’s foot, especially between the toes.


“I had a recent visit to Dr Damstetter’s clinic and would like to share my experience. I am a Navy vet(corpsman) and usually get seen at the VA but since we don’t have a Derm provider right now, I was fortunately sent out to her clinic to be evaluated. It’s a nice clinic in a nice area and was relatively easy to find. A pleasant Ms. Nancy at the front desk was helpful in completing the check-in process. Easy day. I did not have to wait long and was soon met by Dr. Damstetter’s assistant, who for classified reasons I will refer to as “Agent 8”. I am sure if she gets tired of providing excellent medical care, her slick-ninja skillset could get her a job with the CIA or MI6 maybe. Short story long, Agent 8 brought me back to the patient area, where I was introduced to Dr Damstetter, who was all the things you would want in a doctor: a knowledgeable provider with a great bedside manner. She gave me a thorough exam which did end up showing that I needed a minor procedure. No worries. I felt well taken care of throughout my visit. No one likes to have to see the doctor, but if you have a dermatological concern, this is a good place with good people who did great by me, and I am thankful to have been sent here.”

“Dr. Liz is truly the best dermatologist I’ve ever been to. She is attentive, kind, and genuinely cares about her patients and their overall skin health. I can not recommend her enough!!!”

“Wonderful experience here! The doctor took the time to educate me on a variety of cosmetic options and gave her candid opinion resulting in just the right amount of cosmetic adjustments! Her staff was delightful and attentive! I would highly recommend for general derm needs and cosmetic adjustments.”

“Dr. Damstetter was the first dermatologist I trusted to do my Botox. She is both knowledgeable and professional and did a fantastic job. I will be using her for any and all of my future needs.”

Fungal Nail Infection Treatment

In some cases, Dr. Damstetter may remove a portion of an affected nail so it can be observed under a microscope or to perform a fungal culture. Antifungal treatment is necessary to clear the infection. For appropriate patients, Dr. Damstetter will prescribe oral antifungal medication. Patients may also benefit from topical medication (cream or lacquer). In rare cases, the nail must be removed to clear a fungal infection.

If you are at a higher risk or have previously suffered from fungal nail infections, there are some steps you can take to prevent future infections. Keep the feet and hands clean and dry. Avoid walking barefoot in public places, especially when using locker rooms or public showers. Treat recurrences as early as possible and continue a topical maintenance therapy after clearance.

Schedule an Appointment

If you notice symptoms of a fungal nail infection, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Damstetter at Reserve Dermatology. Call our Glenview, IL office or contact us online to set up your first appointment.

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