Before treating onychomycosis, it is important to exclude other conditions such as lichen planus and psoriasis. The purpose of this study was to evaluate physician preferences and uses of diagnostic tests for toenail onychomycosis (TO) by surveying dermatologists (D), podiatrists (P) and family practitioners (FP) in the United States. Surveys were mailed to approximately 1000 randomly sampled physicians from each of the three specialities. The questionnaire consisted of 15 items regarding physician and practice characteristics, number of patients with TO seen and treated, tests used to diagnose TO and reasons for using the tests. Results were analysed using several statistical methods. Response rates were low (D33.7%; P16.6%; FP28.4%). Ds and Ps (75.2%) and FPs (43.4%) reported feeling 'very confident' at diagnosing onychomycosis. KOH was the preferred diagnostic test for all three specialities. More Ds (75.4%) felt 'very confident' interpreting potassium hydroxide (KOH) exams than Ps (24.9%) and FPs (18.5%). Use of KOH exams was statistically associated with confidence interpreting exams (P P = 0.04092; D & FP P < 0.0001). Some FPs (46.6%) and Ps (21.6%) did not obtain a confirmatory diagnostic test prior to the treatment of onychomycosis while 63.6% of Ds 'almost always/always' did. While limited by low-response rate, this study provides pilot information on the diagnostic preferences for TO by American D, P and FP.