How is Toenail Fungus Spread?

How is Toenail Fungus Spread? Well there are Four Phases to the development of Toenail Fungus.

1) The development of a precursory condition– Before fungus can ever get underneath the toenail, it is necessary for something to irritate the toenail and separate it slightly. This is almost always a result of microtrauma that must be corrected.

Causes of microtrauma

  • Footwear abnormalities- improperly measured shoe size, tight shoe box, tight forefoot, high heels
  • Biomechanical Abnormalities- hallux rigidus or hallux limitus, 5th digit varus
  • Structural abnormalities- Long 2nd digit, a morton’s foot type, flat feet foot pain,  wide foot types
  • Systemic abnormalities- Obesity



2) The development of tinea pedis – Tinea pedis is some fungus present on the skin, in our feet this is very common and usually not a problem. Almost everyone gets some fungus in their shoe if they sweat at all, but if there is space forming underneath the nail- then this gets dangerous because the fungus can migrate underneath the nail and start causing some problems.


3) The spread of pathogens along skin’s stratum corneum into the nail bed – This just means that the skin fungus migrates along the deeper layers of the skin and gets in underneath the nail plate. Again this is tricky because most shoes already have fungus in them, this is normally and it should not be your primary area of concern.


4)Established infection in the nail bed– This leads to Dermatophytic onychomycosis formation, a continued spread of fungus into the nail plate leading to a pathologic cycle of accentuated nail bed keratinization.


Two Treatment Goals

1)Correct the Microtrauma

Treating the nail fungus is only one step in the treatment of nail fungus, the nail must be prevented from being susceptible from becoming infected. If this is not done then after you spend all that time curing your fungus, it may just come right back again. This can be done by correcting one of many factors:

  • Hallux Limitus.
  • Bunion.
  • Flat Feet.
  • Obesity.
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Correct any system problems like smoking, peripheral vascular disease or diabetes.
  • Get a biomechanical exam by your podiatrist

2)Eradicate the Fungus

Return to our treatment guide for this step.



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