Nail fungus: symptoms and treatment

A fungal infection of the toenail can start from athlete’s foot.

It is rare to get an infection from another person. Photo: shutterstock.

Fungal nail disease is common and begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of the nail or toenail. As the fungal infection deepens, the fungus can cause the nail to change color and thicken, as well as deteriorate the nail edge. It can affect multiple toenails.

If the disease is mild and does not bother you, you may not need treatment. If the fungus is painful and has already caused your nails to thicken, there are self-care measures and medications that can help. However, even if treatment is successful, nail fungus usually returns.

Onychomycosis is also called onychomycosis. When the fungus infects the areas between the toes and the skin on the feet, it’s called athlete’s foot (tinea pedis).


* You may have nail fungus if any of the following occur:

*They are thick

* Change in color from white to brownish-yellow

* It is brittle, scaly, or uneven

* Abnormally shaped

It has a dark color caused by the accumulation of residues under the nail

* It has a slightly unpleasant smell

* Toenail fungus can affect the nails, but it is more common on the toenails.

When should you see a doctor

You can see your doctor if self-care measures don’t work and your nails become increasingly discolored, thickened or discolored. Also make an appointment if you have diabetes and think you may have nail fungus.

Fungal nail infections are caused by various fungal organisms (mycosis). The most common cause is a type of fungus called a “dermatophyte”. Yeast and mold can also cause nail infections.

Fungal nail infections can occur at any age, but are more common in older adults. As nails age, they can become brittle and dry. Cracks that appear in the nails for this reason allow the entry of fungi. Other factors can play a role as well, such as decreased blood circulation in the feet and a weakened immune system.

A fungal infection of the toenail can start with athlete’s foot (toenail fungus) and can spread from one nail to another. However, getting an infection from another person is rare.

risk factors

Factors that can increase your risk of developing nail fungus include:

* Aging, due to poor circulation, more years of exposure to fungi and slower nail growth

Heavy sweating

*Having a history of athlete’s foot

Walking barefoot in damp public places, such as swimming pools, gyms, or locker rooms

Having a minor injury to the skin or nails or a skin disease such as psoriasis

Having diabetes, circulatory problems, or a weak immune system


A severe case of nail fungus can be painful and can cause permanent nail damage. It can also cause other serious infections to spread to areas other than your feet if you have a suppressed immune system due to medications, diabetes, or other illnesses.

If you have diabetes, you may have decreased blood circulation and innervation in your feet. You are also at an increased risk of developing a bacterial skin infection (cellulitis). Thus, any minor foot injury (such as a fungal nail infection) can lead to more serious complications. See your doctor if you have diabetes and think you have fungus on your nails.


The following habits can help prevent nail fungus or re-infection, as well as athlete’s foot, which can lead to nail fungus:

* Wash your hands and feet regularly. Wash your hands after touching the infected nail. Wet your nails after washing them.

* Cut your nails straight, smooth the edges with a file and save thick areas. Disinfect the nail clippers after each use.

Wear sweat-wicking socks or change them during the day.

* Choose shoes made of materials that allow the skin to breathe.

* Dispose of old shoes or treat them with antiseptics or antifungal powders.

* Use shoes in pool areas and changing rooms.

* Choose a nail salon that uses sterile manicure tools for each client.

* Do not wear nail polish or artificial nails.

Source consult here.