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Toenail Fungus: Warning Signs to Watch Out For

When it comes to toenail fungus, it’s important to get ahead of the problem.

There are few podiatric ailments more cosmetically unpleasant than toenail fungal infections, also known as onychomycosis, which spread over time and can eventually destroy the nail if left untreated.

Keep an eye out for these toenail fungus warning signs.

Keep an eye out for these toenail fungus warning signs.

Nail fungal infections are typically caused by a dermatophyte fungus, which requires keratin for growth and spreads by direct contact, but can also manifest from yeasts and molds.

Although nail fungus can attack both the hands and the feet, the condition occurs far more often in toenails due to the fact that your feet spend the majority of the day confined to your shoes. The dark, moist environment inside your shoes makes it easy for fungi to not only grow, but thrive.

Unfortunately, because fungal toenail infections are relatively common, signs of toenail fungus are often confused with athlete’s foot – a condition with a similar fungal pattern.

In order to help you properly identify toenail fungus, there are several warning signs you should look for:

  • Your nails thicken
  • The texture of your nails feels brittle or crumbly
  • A change in the shape of your nails
  • Your nails darken
  • Your nails become dull
  • Your nails begin to smell
  • Pain
  • Separation from the nail bed

If you have at least two of these signs, then you may be suffering from toenail fungus infection and it is important to seek help right away.

At Delray Beach Podiatry, we use laser therapy to treat fungal infections in order to vastly improve the appearance of the nails in our patients. This painless therapy does not harm the surrounding tissue of the toe and nail bed. Furthermore, the laser therapy has no known side-effects and is considered a safer option than drug therapy.

Treatment is performed by Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, who utilizes laser therapy to treat hundreds of patients a year at his offices in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.

The laser works by penetrating the nail plate and destroying the fungus under the nail. During this process, the laser light is absorbed by pigment in the fungi, which causes the pigment to heat, and this heat kills or damages the fungal organism. The fungus is irradiated without any damage to the surrounding nail or skin, allowing your nail to grow normally.

Laser treatments are delivered in a short 20-30 minute session with additional treatments, if needed. At Delray Beach Podiatry, Dr. Goldbaum insists that all his patients adhere to a strict treatment protocol that involves three separate sessions as well as the use of topical treatments in between visits to work in conjunction with the laser therapy.

“In our office, we do it three times. In many other offices, they only do it one time,” said Dr. Goldbaum, who notes that his 91 percent success rate in treating fungal infections with laser therapy is slightly higher than the national average of 85 percent. “We have a whole treatment protocol. We utilize the laser, but we also utilize other things to make sure. We want to make sure the patient has the best chance of getting rid of fungus that we can. That’s why we use these other products in the interim.”

After completing all three of these recommended sessions, which requires an office visit every 5-6 weeks during treatment, Dr. Goldbaum insists that his patients should be happy with the results.

“They’ll see a nice pink formation growing from the base of the nail — known as the matrix area,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “As the nail grows out, we keep cutting away the fungus part and using the topical as well. By the time we’re done, the nail is all clear and it looks good.”

Follow Delray Beach Podiatry on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472



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