White spots on the toenails are a common symptom of a fungal condition referred to as white superficial onychomycosis, according to WebMD. As the condition progresses, the surface of the nail becomes softer. Over time, the nail surface may crumble, however the nail does not lift from the underlying skin.
Risk factors for developing toenail fungus include poor ventilation of the feet, nail injuries, medical conditions such as diabetes and decreased blood flow to the nails, according to Mayo Clinic. Sharing a living space with an individual who has toenail fungus can also put individuals at risk for developing the condition. Complications of the condition include permanent nail damage and infections.
Toenail fungal infections can often be treated with over-the-counter topical medications, according to the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. Topical antifungal medications are also available in prescription form. In certain cases, individuals may be prescribed oral antifungal tablets to treat the infection from the inside out. Toenail fungus can often be prevented by washing the feet each day with soap and water, wearing sandals in public shower areas and keeping the feet dry. It is also important for individuals whose feet are continually exposed to moisture to change their socks on a frequent basis.