Toenail Fungus: The Answer to “Why?”

Toenail fungal infections are caused by one of three types of fungi: dermatophytes, yeasts, or molds.

  • Dermatophytes grow on the skin, hair, and nails.  They are the most common cause of toenail infections.  They come in contact with the skin by way of clothing, shoes, nail clippers and files, carpet, and damp common areas such as pool decks, showers or locker rooms.
  • Yeasts grow on the skin and nails.  Illness, medications, or immune system issues can cause an overgrowth of yeast resulting in yeast infections.
  • Molds grow in soil and can grow on skin and nails.

The fungi live in moist, warm environments and do not need sunlight in order to survive.  They enter the skin through small separations between the nail and nail bed or through small cuts.  Toenails are especially vulnerable to fungal infections because of the low blood flow to them and because they are more often than not inside shoes that provide the warm, dark, moist environment.

It is possible to have the fungi on your skin without having an infection.  A person has to be susceptible for toenail fungal infections to develop.  Toenail fungal infections are more likely to occur in men than women.  In addition, elderly persons are more likely than young persons to have the infection.  Other factors that contribute to a person’s likelihood of having a toenail fungal infection include family history, a weakened immune system due to disease or medical condition, poor blood circulation, heavy perspiration, slow-growing nails, wearing unventilated shoes and socks, wearing shoes that crowd the toes, working in a damp environment, and/or previous toenail injury or infection.

If you have been diagnosed with toenail fungus, Dr. Jeffrey Burmeister, DPM, and his experienced staff are ready to discuss treatment options, including PinPointe™ Footlaser™ treatment.  They will see you on your way to embarrassment- and pain-free living.  Schedule an appointment by completing an online appointment request at or by calling (904) 765-8889.