Nail fungal infection: Causes, treatment, and symptoms

Nail fungus is a typical condition that begins as a white or yellow spot underneath the tip of your fingernail or toenail. Because the fungal infection goes deeper, nail fungus might trigger your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble on the edge. It could possibly affect several nails.

In case your situation is gentle and never bothering you, you may not need treatment. If your nail fungus is painful and has prompted thickened nails, self-care steps and medicines may help. However even when treatment is successful, nail fungus typically comes back.

Nail fungus is also referred to as onychomycosis. When fungus infects the areas between your toes and the skin of your toes, it is called athlete's foot (tinea pedis).


You'll have nail fungus if one or more of your nails are:

  • Thickened
  • Whitish to yellow-brown discoloration
  • Brittle, crumbly or ragged
  • Distorted in form
  • A dark colour, attributable to debris increase beneath your nail
  • Smellling slightly foul

Nail fungus can affect fingernails, but it surely's more widespread in toenails.

When to see a health care provider

You could need to see a doctor if self-care steps have not helped and the nail becomes increasingly discolored, thickened or deformed. Additionally see a doctor when you have diabetes and suppose you're developing nail fungus.


Fungal nail infections are brought on by various fungal organisms (fungi). The most typical cause is a type of fungus known as dermatophyte. Yeast and molds also can cause nail infections.

Fungal nail infection can develop in people at any age, nevertheless it's extra widespread in older adults. As the nail ages, it could actually become brittle and dry. The ensuing cracks in the nails permit fungi to enter. Other elements - corresponding to diminished blood circulation to the toes and a weakened immune system - additionally might play a role.

Toenail fungal infection can begin from athlete's foot (foot fungus), and it may well unfold from one nail to another. However it's uncommon to get an infection from someone else.

Danger elements

Elements that may increase your danger of creating nail fungus embrace:

  • Being older, owing to diminished blood flow, extra years of publicity to fungi and slower growing nails
  • Sweating heavily
  • Having a historical past of athlete's foot
  • Walking nakedfoot in damp communal areas, equivalent to swimming pools, gyms and shower rooms
  • Having a minor pores and skin or nail injury or a skin situation, comparable to psoriasis
  • Having diabetes, circulation problems or a weakened immune system


A extreme case of nail fungus might be painful and may cause permanent damage to your nails. And it could lead to other serious infections that unfold past your toes in case you have a suppressed immune system attributable to medicine, diabetes or other conditions.

When you've got diabetes, you'll have reduced blood circulation and nerve supply in your feet. You're also at larger danger of a bacterial pores and skin infection (cellulitis). So any relatively minor harm to your feet - together with a nail fungal an infection - can result in a more severe complication. See your doctor you probably have diabetes and suppose you are developing nail fungus.


The next habits might help prevent nail fungus or reinfections and athlete's foot, which can result in nail fungus:

  • Wash your arms and feet regularly. Wash your arms after touching an contaminated nail. Moisturize your nails after washing.
  • Trim nails straight throughout, smooth the perimeters with a file and file down thickened areas. Disinfect your nail clippers after each use.
  • Put on sweat-absorbing socks or change your socks throughout the day.
  • Select footwear manufactured from materials that breathe.
  • Discard outdated shoes or deal with them with disinfectants or antifungal powders.
  • Wear footwear in pool areas and locker rooms.
  • Choose a nail salon that uses sterilized manicure instruments for each customer.
  • Hand over nail polish and synthetic nails.