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Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a common and often stubborn fungal infection that affects the nails of both fingers and toes. While it may start as a minor cosmetic concern, untreated nail fungus can lead to discomfort, pain and even permanent nail damage. Understanding the causes, risk factors, and treatment options for nail fungus is crucial for effectively overcoming this unsightly and uncomfortable condition. At Medical Dermatology Specialists, we are here to provide you with the information and professional dermatology treatments you need to conquer nail fungus and restore healthy, beautiful nails.

Nail fungus is typically caused by fungal organisms known as dermatophytes, although yeast and molds can also be responsible. These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, making the nails, especially toenails, an ideal breeding ground for infection. Nail fungus often starts as a small white or yellow spot under the tip of the nail and can progressively worsen, causing the nail to thicken, become discolored and develop a brittle or crumbly texture. If left untreated, nail fungus can spread to other nails and even lead to complications such as cellulitis or permanent nail damage.

Common Causes and Risk Factors

Several factors can increase the risk of developing nail fungus, including:

  • Warm and Moist Environments: Prolonged exposure to warm, moist environments, such as sweaty shoes or communal showers, creates an ideal breeding ground for fungal infections.
  • Trauma or Injury to the Nails: Trauma or injury to the nails, such as a stubbed toe or repeated pressure from tight-fitting shoes, can create openings that allow fungi to enter and infect the nails.
  • Weakened Immune System: Individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or autoimmune disorders, are at higher risk of developing nail fungus.
  • Poor Nail Hygiene: Poor nail hygiene, such as not keeping the nails clean and trimmed or wearing dirty socks and shoes, can increase the risk of nail fungus.
  • Nail salons. Nail salons that do not properly sanitize their instruments are a common source of spreading nail fungus.

Aging and genetics can also play a significant role in nail fungus susceptibility, with older adults and individuals with a family history of nail fungus being more prone to infection.

Professional Dermatology Treatment Options

While over-the-counter antifungal creams and ointments may provide temporary relief for mild cases of nail fungus, professional dermatology treatment may be necessary to effectively overcome more severe infections. At Medical Dermatology Specialists, we offer a range of advanced treatment options for nail fungus, including:

  • Prescription Antifungal Medications: Oral antifungal medications, such as terbinafine or itraconazole, may be prescribed to treat nail fungus that is resistant to topical treatments. These medications work by targeting the fungal infection from the inside out and promoting healthy nail growth.
  • Topical Antifungal Solutions: Prescription-strength topical antifungal solutions, such as ciclopirox or efinaconazole, can be applied directly to the affected nails to help eradicate the fungal infection and promote nail healing.
  • Laser Therapy: Laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that uses targeted laser energy to destroy the fungal organisms causing nail infections. This advanced technology can effectively penetrate the nail plate and target the underlying infection without causing damage to surrounding tissues.
  • Nail Debridement: Nail debridement, or thinning, involves removing infected nail material to reduce the thickness and pressure on the nail bed. This can help improve the effectiveness of topical treatments and promote healthy nail regrowth.
  • Surgical Nail Removal: In severe cases of nail fungus that do not respond to other treatments, surgical nail removal may be necessary to eliminate the infected nail and allow for healthy nail regrowth.

Prevention Tips for Nail Fungus

In addition to professional dermatology treatment, there are several steps you can take to prevent nail fungus and reduce the risk of recurrence:

  • Keep your nails clean, dry, and trimmed.
  • Wear breathable socks and shoes that allow for air circulation.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in communal areas such as locker rooms and pool decks.
  • Wear protective footwear in public showers or locker rooms.
  • Avoid sharing nail clippers, files or other personal care items with others.

Nail fungus is a common and often stubborn fungal infection that can cause discomfort, pain, and embarrassment. Understanding the causes, risk factors, and treatment options for nail fungus is essential for effectively overcoming this unsightly and uncomfortable condition. At Medical Dermatology Specialists, our experienced dermatologists specialize in diagnosing and treating nail fungus using advanced techniques and personalized treatment plans. If you are struggling with nail fungus, do not wait any longer. Schedule a consultation with Medical Dermatology Specialists today at our clinic in Atlanta, GA, and take the first step towards healthier, more beautiful nails.

Posted on behalf of Medical Dermatology Specialists, P.C.

5730 Glenridge Drive, Suite T-100
Atlanta, GA 30328

Phone: Call (404) 939-9220
FAX: (470) 312-2157

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Our Patient Reviews

Dr. Weisman was very professional, friendly, and engaged in conversation with terminology I would understand. Her beside manner was, quite frankly, surprising! It was one of the most comfortable visits I've ever experienced with a doctor.
Jeffery D.
Dr. Weisman is a great doctor! She was very informative and personally! Her staff were very welcoming as well I'm glad I found her because she is the only doctor who truly explained what was going with me.
Waquele H.
I truly cannot express how thankful I am for this practice. I have been treated with kindness and immense care by every staff member I have encountered here. The nurses and assistants are beyond attentive and genuinely care for the patient. I have just received a treatment plan from Dr. Laura Biehl, and even if this particular treatment plan doesn't provide me relief, I am confident that Dr. Biehl will work to figure out a solution. She is extremely knowledgeable, listens to patient concerns, and takes time to answer patient questions. Dr. Biehl, and this practice are true gems. If you have any dermatological issues this practice is absolutely the best of the best.
Hayley K.

Contact Medical Dermatology Specialists

If your skin disease is affecting your quality of life or you have been told your skin disorder is no longer treatable, we invite you to discover our unique medical dermatology practice in Atlanta. You will find a team of experts in dermatology who are not only dedicated to treating your skin symptoms, but who will work with your primary care doctor and other specialists to give you the comprehensive skin care approach you need to be healthy. Dr. Weisman can show you what it means to have a doctor who is truly an advocate for your health.

Contact our Atlanta Dermatologist today for personalized care and strong expertise in skin care for your entire family.


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Medical Dermatology Specialists, P.C.


5730 Glenridge Drive, Suite T-100
Atlanta, GA 30328



Phone: (404) 939-9220
Fax: (470) 312-2157
Research Fax: (470) 312-2156

Opening Hours

Mon - Fri: 7:45AM - 4:45PM
Sat - Sun: Closed

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