Can Toenail Fungus Spread to Your Other Toes?
If one of your toenails appears infected with fungal growth, you may wonder whether your other toes are at risk too. Toenail fungus infections are unpleasant at the best of times, causing thick, brittle, and yellowed toenails. In some cases, the whole toenail can peel off, causing pain and swelling. As such, you probably want to preserve at least a few healthy toenails.
The bad news is that fungus can spread to other toes – and very easily at that. To make matters worse, the fungus can even spread to your skin, fingernails, and loved ones!
So, why is toenail fungus so good at spreading, and how can you take control of your podiatric health? Well, that is what we are here for and we’re happy to help you!
Why Does Toenail Fungus Spread so Easily?
Toenail infections are caused by a type of fungus known as a dermophyte. Dermophytes feed on keratin – a protein found in skin, hair, and nails – and cause a range of other conditions, such as athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is one way a dermatophyte infection can show up on your skin. The fungi that are causing cracked, itchy and raw skin are the same ones that can cause your fungal toenails.
In short, dermophytes aren’t too fussy about where they grow as long as they have access to keratin. The harder, tougher composition of the toenail also provides them with good protection, which is why getting rid of toenail fungus can often be a challenge.
Unfortunately, this means people with untreated athlete’s foot may develop fungal toenail infections and vice versa. If the skin around your feet and toenails is weak, cracked, and frequently exposed to moisture, the fungus is more likely to thrive and spread.
And naturally, if the fungus can travel between your own nails and skin, it can travel from your nails to someone else’s skin or nails, too. It is not the most contagious condition in the world but, given the right circumstances, transmission can happen. And do you want to be the one blamed for passing on a fungus to a loved one?
No. You don’t want that. So what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones?