Q: Is toenail fungus contagious?
There was a very effective commercial for Lamisil, a medication to treat toenail fungus, featuring Digger the Dermatophyte which would have you believe that toenail fungus was the next plague. In truth, toenail fungus is contagious, but it is well encapsulated beneath the nail. The risk of transmitting toenail fungus to others is relatively small.
Many people with toenail fungus, however, also have an adjacent fungus infection of the skin, such as athletes foot or tinea pedis. This infection must also be treated and is much more contagious than toenail fungus alone.
The most contagious part of both toenail fungus and athlete's foot is the residual fungus that inhabits the shoes. This fungus will reinfect the skin and toenails even after they are successfully treated with medication. Therefore, in addition to treating the nail and skin with medication, whether topical or oral, it is necessary to ensure the shoes remain free of fungus. In my Houston podiatry practice, we routinely recommend an antifungal spray called Mycomist to disinfect the shoes after they are worn.
If you are concerned that you are suffering from a toenail fungus, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an appointment. We will discuss the best treatment solution for your condition, resolve the issue, and keep it gone.