Posted on by Catherine Omondi

Nail fungus may not be the hottest topic at the dinner table. However, it’s a common issue, especially as we age. Now, you might be thinking: “So what? It’s just a nail issue.” Unfortunately, nail fungus is more than just a cosmetic annoyance for older folks. It’s pretty prevalent among seniors, with studies showing that up to 20% of folks over 60 and about half of those over 70 deal with nail fungus regularly.

Unfortunately, ignoring nail fungus in seniors can lead to some serious issues down the road. There could be complications like infections spreading to other nails or even causing problems with balance and mobility. And let’s not forget about the psychological impact. Nobody wants to feel self-conscious about their feet. Getting treatment for nail fungus is crucial, especially as we age. Let’s discuss what nail fungus and the treatment strategies older adults can use to tackle this pesky problem head-on.

Understanding nail fungus

When it comes to nail fungus in older folks, several factors are at play. Firstly, their immune system. As we age, our immune defenses are not quite as sharp as they used to be. That means pesky fungal invaders have an easier time settling in our toenails.

Secondly, older people have reduced blood circulation, especially in the extremities, such as the feet. The sluggish circulation can create the perfect breeding ground for fungi to thrive. 

Thirdly, as we age, nails get thicker and more brittle. This is another invitation for fungus to make itself at home in the nails. 

What are the signs and symptoms of nail fungus in older adults? Well, they are similar to the signs and symptoms in most other individuals and include:

  • Thickened, brittle, and crumbly nails
  • Yellow, brown, or white discoloration of nails
  • Distorted nail shape or texture
  • Foul odor emanating from the affected nails
  • Pain or discomfort while walking or wearing shoes

The impact and potential dangers of untreated toenail fungus in older adults

As an older adult, you should not brush off nail fungus like it’s no big deal. It might seem like a minor annoyance at first, but it can spiral into something worse if left untreated.

There are physical implications of untreated nail fungus. The fungus can spread to other nails or the skin around your nails, leading to infections or more critical issues like cellulitis. And let’s not forget about the risk of falls. Those thickened, brittle nails can throw off your balance and put you at risk of falling.

Unfortunately, nail fungus also has a psychological toll. Nobody wants to feel self-conscious about their feet, especially as they grow older. It can chip away at their confidence and quality of life. The takeaway is: do not wait for nail fungus to sort itself out. Take charge, be proactive, and get toenail fungus treatment as quickly as possible.

Nail fungus treatment options for older adults

Treating nail fungus in older adults is not a one-size-fits-all arrangement. It’s a bit more nuanced than that. You’ve got to take a multifaceted approach, combining treatment with some good old TLC. Some of the treatment strategies include:

  1. Using antifungal over-the-counter medications
  2. Oral medications for severe or persistent cases
  3. Maintaining proper hygiene
  4. Working with healthcare professionals

Let’s discuss these strategies in greater detail.

1.    Using antifungal over-the-counter medications

For mild or moderate nail fungus cases, you might want to start with some over-the-counter toenail fungus medications. There are many great products, including the one we offer at Herbiar, designed to tackle the nail fungus problem. Just apply our toenail fungus ointment on your nails as directed, and you’re good to go.

2.    Oral medications for severe or persistent cases

If the toenail fungus is severe or persistent, it might be time to get stronger medications. That’s where oral antifungal treatments come into play. These medications pack a punch, getting right to the source of the problem from the inside out. However, these medications aren’t something you can pick up at the drugstore. You must have a prescription from a doctor for these ones.

3.    Maintaining proper hygiene

Even after applying the ointments or popping the pills, you must keep your feet clean and dry to ensure a faster recovery. Furthermore, wear breathable socks and shoes, and trim your nails regularly to prevent nail fungus recurrence. A little TLC can go a long way in keeping the fungus at bay.

4.    Working with healthcare professionals

If you are a senior citizen, talk to the pros when treating nail fungus. You can work with dermatologists, podiatrists, or a primary care doctor. These professionals can tell you what’s going on with your nails and hook you up with the right treatment plan. Additionally, if you’re taking medications, they’ll ensure the nail fungus treatment does not negatively interact with your medicine so that everything works its magic.

Precautions and dangers of ignoring nail fungus in older adults

Ignoring nail fungus might seem like a small deal, but it’s anything but benign. Some serious risks and complications are lurking beneath the surface. They include:

1.    Infection risk to adjacent skin or other nails

When you have nail fungus, it’s not just your nails at risk. It’s the skin around them, too. And if the fungus decides to spread its wings and fly to adjacent skin or other nails, things can get messy really quickly. You can get potential bacterial infections or even cellulitis. This is why you should get treatment for nail fungus promptly.

2.    Increased risk of falls

Another consequence of ignoring nail fungus is an increased risk of falls. Severe nail fungus causes pain and discomfort while walking, which can throw off your balance and make it harder to walk. As an older adult, you are more likely to fall, especially if you are already contending with some mobility issues.

3.    Psychological impact

Nail fungus can take an emotional toll on older citizens. The unsightly nails can be embarrassing in social situations where open-toed shoes are required. This can chip away at their confidence and make them feel self-conscious. Nail fungus can put a damper on their quality of life.


Despite all the dangers and risks of nail fungus in older adults, they still have the power to take control. Be proactive and take action by using nail fungus treatment to nip nail fungus in the bud. If you’ve noticed any funky changes in your nails, don’t brush them off. Get non-prescription nail fungus treatments or talk to your healthcare provider for a checkup. Furthermore, to prevent nail fungus recurrence, give your feet some TLC every now and then. This way, you can get rid of the toenail fungus early and get back to walking tall and enjoying your time.