Can I Spread Fungal Toenail to My Spouse?

Mar 14, 2023
Can I Spread Fungal Toenail to My Spouse?
Playing footsie is a fun way to show affection, but if your spouse winds up with a fungal infection, you’re not exactly setting the stage for marital bliss. Here’s how to prevent spreading fungal infections to your spouse — or anyone else.

As a married person, there are some things you want to share with your spouse: your undying love, respect, and admiration are good for starters. But one thing you definitely do not want to share is your toenail fungus. Yet, because these fungal infections can be highly contagious, that is what often happens — unless you seek prompt treatment.

At Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLCJoel S Segalman, FACFAS, FACFAO, and Stephen Lazaroff, DPM, FACFAS, help patients in Waterbury and Newtown, Connecticut, eradicate toenail fungus and prevent it from spreading. If you have one or more fungal toenails, here’s what they want you to know.

How toenail fungus happens

Also called onychomycosis, toenail fungal infections affect as many as 14% of Americans, according to the CDC. Infections begin when tiny fungal organisms enter the skin around your toenails, usually through a minor cut, blister, or small opening. These fungi are especially abundant in damp, moist areas, including gyms and public pools.

Once under the skin, the fungi quickly migrate to the nail bed, where the tough toenail provides a protective barrier. In fact, that barrier is so tough that without professional treatment, the fungus can live in your nail bed for years, affecting your nail health and potentially infecting others.

Because they’re so contagious, infections can spread in various ways, including direct skin-to-skin contact and contact with infected clothing or an infected surface. Until your fungal infection eradicates completely, you risk spreading the fungi to your spouse and others.

Toenail fungus symptoms

Ideally, you want to seek treatment at the first sign of infection, so recognizing the signs and symptoms of an infection is really important. Some of the most common signs and symptoms include:

  • Yellowed or discolored toenails
  • Thick toenails
  • Flaky or brittle toenails
  • Distorted nail shape
  • Bad odor

Some infections can also cause pain or discomfort in and around the nail.

How to protect your spouse (and family)

Having toenail fungus treated right away is one of the best ways to prevent the infection from spreading, but there are other steps you can take, too:

  • Don’t share socks or shoes
  • Don’t share towels
  • Use separate towels for your feet and body
  • Don’t reuse towels; wash them immediately after use
  • Use a disinfectant spray on the shower after use
  • Don’t share toenail clippers or other nail tools
  • Wear clean socks to bed
  • Use medications as prescribed

Toenail fungal infections can be stubborn, and “home remedies” and over-the-counter products are rarely effective. 

If you have symptoms of toenail fungus, seeing a medical professional is the best way to eliminate the infection as quickly as possible. At our practice, we treat toenail fungus with oral medications, professional-strength topical preparations, and state-of-the-art laser therapy.

Get rid of toenail fungal infections

It’s perfectly fine to play footsie with your spouse — but not if it means infecting them with toenail fungus. Give your feet — and your spouse — the love they deserve by scheduling medical treatment promptly.

To learn how we can help you get rid of stubborn fungal toenail infections (and prevent spreading infections to others), book an appointment online or over the phone with the Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists team today.