Toenail Fungus Specialist

Lake Erie Podiatry

Michael Ruiz, DPM

Podiatrist & Foot and Ankle Surgeon located in West Millcreek, Erie, PA

Toenail fungus can affect your nail beds after a visit to the public pool or locker room. Since fungal infections on the toenails are common, they’re also highly treatable at Lake Erie Podiatry in Erie, Pennsylvania. Michael Ruiz, DPM, can manage your infection with debridement and antifungal agents. Call the office, or request an appointment online to book your visit today.

Toenail Fungus Q & A

What is toenail fungus?

Toenail fungus is a type of infection in the nail beds or nail plates of your toes. Though any of your nails can develop a fungal infection, your toenails are about 10 times more likely to get them than your fingernails. This is mostly because your toes are often inside your socks or shoes, where it’s typically dark and damp.

Most toenail fungus cases come from fungi called dermatophytes. This type of fungi thrives off of keratin, a type of protein in your hair, nails, and skin. 

Your risk for toenail fungus gets higher with age because your nails grow more slowly, your toes get less circulation, and your immune system gets weaker. Not every case is preventable, but you can lower your risk by keeping your toes clean and dry at all times.

What does toenail fungus look like?

Toenail fungus doesn’t take on the gruesome appearance you might expect from any kind of fungus. Instead, toenails with fungal infections tend to be:

  • Brittle
  • Cracked or split
  • Distorted 
  • Yellow, white, or brown
  • Lifted from the nail bed
  • Odorous

Toenail fungus doesn’t cause any pain, but affected toes can eventually become inflamed and tender as their nails thicken. To prevent these complications, you should visit Lake Erie Podiatry as soon as you notice changes in the nails. 

How did I get toenail fungus?

Toenail fungus often develops from an infection from the foot called athlete’s foot, which is common and spreads easily through public pools and locker room floors. Wearing sandals in areas where people tend to go barefoot can help prevent its spread.

When athlete’s foot migrates from the crevices between your toes to your toenail beds, it can turn into toenail fungus. 

Toenail polish also increases your chances of developing a fungal infection, so you should either clean it off and reapply every week, choose an antifungal nail polish, or avoid it altogether. 

How is toenail fungus treated?

At Lake Erie Podiatry, Dr. Ruiz can resolve most cases of toenail fungus with mild treatments on the first visit. Effective options include:

Antifungal medications

Available in oral or topical varieties, antifungal products kill the fungus causing your toenail infections.


Debridement is the physical removal of diseased nails and the debris buildup resulting from the fungal infection. Dr. Ruiz uses a clean nail file and sterile clippers to trim your nail down, which can help antifungal medications work more effectively. 

Toenail fungus is a common issue that’s easy to treat, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed if you have it. To schedule a treatment consultation for toenail fungus, call Lake Erie Podiatry, or request an appointment online today.