Fungal Nail Infections

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Fungal Nail Infections: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options


Fungal nail infections, also known as onychomycosis, are a common condition that affects the nails of the fingers or toes. They are caused by a variety of fungi that can invade the nail plate and cause it to become discolored, thickened, and brittle. Fungal nail infections can be difficult to treat and can often recur if not treated properly.


Fungal nail infections are most commonly caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. These fungi are found in the environment and can be transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces, such as floors, shoes, or nail clippers. Other types of fungi that can cause nail infections include yeasts and molds.

Risk factors for developing a fungal nail infection include:

  • Wearing tight-fitting shoes
  • Having a history of foot or nail injuries
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Having diabetes or other chronic health conditions


The symptoms of a fungal nail infection can vary depending on the type of fungus that is causing the infection. However, some common symptoms include:

  • Discoloration of the nail (yellow, white, or brown)
  • Thickening of the nail
  • Brittle nails that crumble or break easily
  • Separation of the nail from the nail bed
  • Pain or discomfort around the nail


A fungal nail infection can be diagnosed by a doctor or podiatrist. The doctor will examine the nail and may take a sample of the nail to be sent to a laboratory for testing. The laboratory will be able to determine the type of fungus that is causing the infection.


There are a number of different treatments available for fungal nail infections. The type of treatment that is recommended will depend on the severity of the infection and the type of fungus that is causing it.

Topical treatments are applied directly to the nail. These treatments can include antifungal creams, ointments, or nail polish. Topical treatments are often used for mild infections.

Oral medications are taken by mouth. These medications can include antifungal pills or capsules. Oral medications are often used for more severe infections.

Laser therapy is a newer treatment option for fungal nail infections. Laser therapy uses a laser to kill the fungus. Laser therapy is often used for infections that are difficult to treat with other methods.


There are a number of things that you can do to prevent fungal nail infections, including:

  • Keep your nails clean and dry.
  • Wear shoes that fit well and allow your feet to breathe.
  • Change your socks and shoes regularly.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public places.
  • Use a pumice stone or nail file to remove dead skin cells from your feet.
  • Disinfect your nail clippers and other nail care tools after each use.


Fungal nail infections can be difficult to treat, but they can usually be cured with proper treatment. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and to complete the full course of treatment. If you have a fungal nail infection, it is important to see a doctor or podiatrist as soon as possible to get the proper treatment.

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