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Fungal Nails

We’ve all seen toenails like these at the pool or in the shower at the gym. Yellow toenails, thick toenails and discolored toenails all point to the same thing – fungus. It’s an embarrassing condition, but it’s also very common.

We urge patients to give us a call at the first sign of a fungal infection, because it can lead to permanent damage and can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.

If you didn’t call at the first sign and it progressed, don’t be embarrassed – I promise that we’ve seen worse! Besides, with advanced technology like Laser Therapy, there's no need to hide those toenails!

Risk Factors

The risk factors for fungal toenails are actually behavioral. Most types of fungus -- whether it’s growing on your lawn, your food or your foot – thrive in moist environments. 

So if you spend a lot of time at public pools, at the gym or showering at the fitness center, there’s a good chance you will get one of these delightful little fungi at some point.

Or if you sweat a lot. Or wear air-tight shoes, which trap moisture.

Or especially if you sweat a lot and wear air-tight shoes.  Foot fungi love that!

Fungal infections can also result from pedicures if the utensils are not properly sterilized. 

Symptoms of Fungus

The symptoms are fairly easy to recognize, with the most obvious sign being discoloration that starts as a yellowish or white spot just under the tip of the nail and darkens as it progresses throughout the nail.

Other symptoms include nails that are:

  • thickened,
  • brittle,
  • distorted,
  • crumbling at the edges or
  • detached.

We can often diagnose the problem usually just by the appearance, but it will take testing a piece of the nail to pinpoint the exact type of fungal infection. So we may have to lightly scrape or clip the nail for testing.

Fungal Nail Treatments

The treatment will depend on the type and severity of the infection. Options for treatment include:

  • Prescribing an anti-fungal medication
  • Applying topical medications
  • Using an antifungal lacquer (a type of nail polish that can clear up fungal infections)
  • Laser treatments

Over-the-counter creams do not eliminate most fungal infections, so we recommend you come in for an appointment rather than trying to treat this condition yourself. It typically won’t go away, and it’s likely to return and spread to other toes and maybe even other body parts if left untreated.

In more advanced or persistent cases, we might need to remove the nail, but only as a last resort. We’ll use a local anesthetic so you won’t feel any pain and a new toenail will most likely grow in its place.

Laser Therapy

Lexington Podiatry uses a FDA cleared laser to create an increase of clear nails in patients with Onychomycosis (toenail fungus).

The laser procedure is painless (only a slight warming sensation), non-invasive and treats the nail infection in the nail bed with no side effects.

The laser light passes through the toenail without causing damage to the nail or the surrounding skin.

One of the reasons that the laser is so effective is that the laser can penetrate the nail and reach the underlying fungus better than a topical cream alone.

At the time of the procedure, the toe nail will not become instantly clear, it takes time to grow out.

KeryFlex Instant Nail Restoration

We understand that it's hard to wait for nails to grow out. That's why we also use a procedure for instantly beautiful nails. KERYflex can be applied to create a flexible, durable imitation nail on top of a fungal nail WHILE it's being treated underneath with either oral or in-between laser treatments.

This allows you to have a smooth, pink and normal looking nail so that you can sport your bare feet at your beach wedding, at the lake on vacation or just walk around with no socks without the embarrassment of ugly toenails. It'll be our little secret!


If you are experiencing foot pain, call our office or make an online appointment


Absolutely amazing staff! Smiling faces, compassion and understanding! Couldn’t have asked for a better experience!

Amanda Rugg

I was frankly shocked at how good they were at EVERYthing. They saw me less than 2 hours after I called. Dr. Barko was ebullient and professional. You can ask them questions via TXT, which is huge. Their offices are spic-n-span and modern. Basically, they're knocking it out of the park. I don't wish for more in-grown toenails, but if it happens, I'm going straight back to Lexington Podiatry.

Mick Jeffries

I love Lexington Podiatry! The staff is always so helpful, and attentive. I love Dr. Freels. She is top notch, and is always so happy to see me, and listens to me about what is going on.

Amie Castle

Dr. Carter diagnosed and created a treatment plan in minutes- other podiatrists have treated me incorrectly for years. So pleased to have answers and solutions.

Katy Perkins

My left foot had been hurting for a while. The staff and doctors here are all quite knowledgeable and professional, as well as friendly and personable. My diagnosis was promptly made, x-ray completed right there in the office, and I left with the two braces that I needed. No waiting for the mail, trip to brace shop, nada. Most excellent clinic!

Susan Bell

Accepted Insurance Providers

There may be providers, plans and coverage not included on this list. We will help you with navigating the options for coverage and costs. We also accept HSA, Flex accounts, Care Credit and prompt pay pricing for treatment at the clinic and surgical procedures. We do not accept Medicaid or CareSource plans at this time. Visit our New Patient page for more details.