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Toenail fungus: treatment, causes, symptoms and more

Nail fungus is a standard situation that begins as a white or yellow spot below the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungal an infection goes deeper, nail fungus might trigger your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge. It will probably affect a number of nails.

In case your situation is mild and not bothering you, you could not want treatment. If your nail fungus is painful and has precipitated thickened nails, self-care steps and medications may help. However even if treatment is profitable, nail fungus typically comes back.

Nail fungus can be called onychomycosis. When fungus infects the areas between your toes and the pores and skin of your toes, it is known as athlete's foot (tinea pedis).


You'll have nail fungus if a number of of your nails are:

  • Thickened
  • Whitish to yellow-brown discoloration
  • Brittle, crumbly or ragged
  • Distorted in form
  • A darkish color, brought on by particles building up below your nail
  • Smellling slightly foul

Nail fungus can have an effect on fingernails, however it's extra common in toenails.

When to see a physician

Chances are you'll need to see a doctor if self-care steps have not helped and the nail becomes more and more discolored, thickened or deformed. Also see a health care provider in case you have diabetes and suppose you're growing nail fungus.


Fungal nail infections are caused by various fungal organisms (fungi). The most typical trigger is a type of fungus called dermatophyte. Yeast and molds can also cause nail infections.

Fungal nail infection can develop in people at any age, but it surely's more widespread in older adults. As the nail ages, it can grow to be brittle and dry. The ensuing cracks in the nails permit fungi to enter. Other elements - equivalent to decreased blood circulation to the ft and a weakened immune system - additionally may play a role.

Toenail fungal infection can begin from athlete's foot (foot fungus), and it will probably spread from one nail to another. But it's unusual to get an infection from someone else.

Threat elements

Components that may increase your danger of growing nail fungus include:

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


A extreme case of nail fungus can be painful and will trigger permanent injury to your nails. And it might result in different severe infections that unfold past your toes in case you have a suppressed immune system on account of treatment, diabetes or other conditions.

When you've got diabetes, you might have reduced blood circulation and nerve provide in your feet. You are also at greater threat of a bacterial pores and skin infection (cellulitis). So any relatively minor injury to your ft - including a nail fungal infection - can lead to a extra severe complication. See your doctor if in case you have diabetes and think you are creating nail fungus.


The following habits can help prevent nail fungus or reinfections and athlete's foot, which can lead to nail fungus:

  • Wash your hands and ft regularly. Wash your palms after touching an infected nail. Moisturize your nails after washing.
  • Trim nails straight across, easy the sides with a file and file down thickened areas. Disinfect your nail clippers after every use.
  • Put on sweat-absorbing socks or change your socks throughout the day.
  • Select shoes fabricated from materials that breathe.
  • Discard old shoes or treat them with disinfectants or antifungal powders.
  • Put on footwear in pool areas and locker rooms.
  • Choose a nail salon that uses sterilized manicure tools for every customer.
  • Surrender nail polish and synthetic nails.
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