What are the Major Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Nail Fungus? Understanding this Abnormal Fungal Infection Condition

Nail fungus is a common problem that causes the nails to become thick, yellow or discolored. It can also make the nails crumble and break easily. The condition is formally called onychomycosis, and it’s caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes.

These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments like public showers, locker rooms and swimming pools. They can also be found in nail salons that use implements that aren’t properly sterilized.

Nail fungus is more common in toenails than fingernails because the environment inside a shoe is often ideal for dermatophytes. The condition is also more common in older adults and people with diabetes or other conditions that cause poor circulation.

If you think you have nail fungus, it’s important to see a doctor so they can prescribe the proper treatment. Nail fungus isn’t dangerous, but it can be difficult to get rid of and it may lead to

What Is Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus is an abnormal fungal infection of the nail that can cause thick, ragged nails and discolored nails. It is also known as onychomycosis or athlete’s foot. It is caused by a variety of factors and can be treated with self-care steps and medications, but it often comes back if not adequately treated.

What Are The Causes Of Nail Fungus?

1. Injury Or Trauma To The Nail

Injury or trauma to the nail can cause nail fungus due to the yeast present on the surface of the nails. The yeast feeds on and breaks down the keratin in the nails, making them brittle and discolored. This build-up of yeast leads to a fungal infection that causes further damage to the affected nails.

2. Wearing Artificial Nails Or Nail Polish

The use of artificial nails or nail polish can contribute to the development of nail fungus, as these items can create a warm and moist environment that is ideal for fungal growth. The adhesive used in artificial nails or glue used to hold them in place may also provide a suitable breeding ground for fungi. Furthermore, the harsh chemicals found in some nail polishes and removers can damage the protective layer on the nails, making them more susceptible to fungal infections.

3. Poor Hygiene

Poor hygiene can be a contributing factor to the development of nail fungus. Not keeping the skin clean and dry, as well as sharing tools with other people, can increase the risk of developing this abnormal fungal infection condition. Taking proper care of one’s nails, such as keeping them trimmed and clean and avoiding tight-fitting shoes or socks that can create an optimum environment for fungus growth, is important in order to help prevent the development of nail fungus.

4. Exposure To A Moist Environment

Exposure to a moist environment can lead to nail fungus due to the warm, humid conditions providing an ideal breeding ground for fungal growth. Factors such as walking barefoot around pools, using public showers and sharing towels or pool areas can all increase one’s risk of developing nail fungus. Nail fungus is typically spread through direct contact with an infected person or object, making it important for individuals to avoid such situations in order to minimize their chances of being infected.

5. Weak Immune System

People with weakened immune systems have an increased risk of getting nail fungus because the body is less able to fight off infection. This can lead to fungal infections in and around the nails, causing discoloration, thickening, yellowing or crumbling of the nail. To reduce this risk, it is important for people with weakened immune systems to regularly clean their bathrooms and showers and take steps to keep their feet dry. It is also important for those at high risk of infection to change their socks often and not walk barefoot in public places.

6. Diabetes

Diabetes is linked to nail fungus, and it is believed that swelling on axons may be responsible for the connection. People with diabetes are more prone to developing nail fungus due to their weakened immune system, which makes them more susceptible to infection. High blood sugar levels also create a conducive environment for the growth of fungal organisms. Once infected, there are several symptoms associated with nail fungus such as thickening of nails, color change in nails, and even foul smelling discharge from the affected area. Treatment includes prescription antifungal medications in either oral or topical form, or home remedies such as soaking your feet in vinegar and water each day until the infection has cleared up.

7. Tight Footwear

Tight footwear can cause nail fungus due to the increased temperature and humidity in the shoe that allows fungi to grow. This is further exacerbated by not washing feet regularly and wearing socks that are too tight. Additionally, sharing towels, nail clippers, or scissors with others increases the risk of transmitting fungal infections from person to person. To minimize risk of infection it is important to wear properly fitted shoes with breathable materials and wash feet regularly.

8. Fungal Nail Infections

Nail fungus is caused by a combination of factors, including genetics and environment. Fungi are tiny, microscopic organisms that can migrate from the skin to the nails and cause an infection. The most common sources of nail fungus are contact with someone who has the infection or wearing sweaty socks and shoes. Other contributing factors include small cuts or cracks in the nails that allow fungi to enter, as well as weakened immune systems.

What Are The Symptoms Of Nail Fungus?

1. Thickening Of The Nails

The first symptom of nail fungus is a change in the appearance of the nails, such as brittleness, change in shape, crumbling at the edges of nails, debris trapped under nails, loosening or lifting of nails, loss of luster and shine on nail surface, thickening of nails and white or yellow streaks on the side.

2. Discoloration Of The Nails

Discoloration of the nails is a common symptom of nail fungus. It can be seen when the nail takes on a yellow, green, brown or black hue. If this discoloration progresses or is accompanied by thickening and/or misshaping of the nail, it is important to seek medical attention as this could indicate an underlying fungal infection. Individuals with diabetes should alert their healthcare provider if they think they may have developed nail fungus in order to receive appropriate treatment.

3. Fragile Or Crumbly Nails

Nail fungus can present a variety of symptoms, including nails that are thickened, discolored, brittle, crumbly or ragged, misshapen and separated from the nail bed. Additionally, the infected nail may have an unpleasant smell. Nail fungus is typically more common in toenails than fingernails.

4. Distorted Shape Of The Nails

Nail fungus can cause a variety of symptoms, including distorted nails, an odor, brittle nails, pain or discomfort, discoloration of the nails, thickening and distortion of the nails, redness, itching and scaling. When left untreated for too long it can lead to more serious issues such as disfigurement or even amputation. It is important to seek medical attention if any of these symptoms are present in order to avoid further complications.

5. White Spots Or Streaks On The Nail Surface

The symptoms of nail fungus include white spots on the nails, which can eventually cover the whole nail and make it rough and soft. Additionally, the affected nails may become discolored or brittle due to the fungus that causes nail fungus being sensitive to light. Nail fungus can also change the shape, luster, and surface of nails making them brittle and easily crumbled under pressure or trapped under debris.

6. Unpleasant Odor From The Nail

An unpleasant odor emanating from the nail is a symptom of nail fungus due to the presence of fungal infection. This fungal infection affects either part or all of the nail, causing it to become brittle and distorted. Additionally, the infected nails may become thickened as a result of the fungus.

7. Build Up Of Debris Under The Nail

Debris build-up under the nail is a sign of possible nail fungus, and can be used to detect the condition. An examination of the debris and changes in nail shape, looseness, and thickness can all indicate an infection from nail fungus.

8. Separation Of The Nail From The Nail Bed

Nail fungus is a fungal infection of the nail which can cause symptoms such as separation of the nail from the nail bed. This symptom is caused by an abnormal growth of fungi underneath, around, or on top of the affected area. Separation from the nail bed can lead to pain, difficulty in walking and decreased grip strength due its impact on stability and mobility.

How Is Nail Fungus Diagnosed?

Step 1: Visit A Healthcare Provider

To properly diagnose nail fungus, a doctor specializing in skin or foot conditions should be consulted. The person should list all of their symptoms, personal information, medications, and supplements to their doctor. The doctor will then prescribe a course of action and may recommend alternative treatments or precautions depending on the other health conditions the person has. Additionally, more information on nail fungus can be found through websites such as Mayo Clinic’s own website which offers a downloadable PDF with additional details on the condition.

Step 2: Describe The Symptoms

A doctor will go about diagnosing nail fungus by looking for discolored nails, thickening nails, and brittle or cracked nails. In addition, a doctor may look for other symptoms of fungal infection such as mild pain when putting pressure on the area and difficulty walking. If left untreated, these symptoms can progress to more serious injuries such as pain when putting pressure on the area, difficulty walking and even amputation.

Step 3: Provide Medical History

To diagnose nail fungus, it is important for a healthcare provider to use a patient’s medical history. This involves the patient providing information on their symptoms and personal information, as well as any medications, vitamins or supplements they are taking. The healthcare provider may also order tests to help determine the cause of the infection. The Mayo Clinic also provides resources that can help patients better understand nail fungus and alternative treatments available. Additionally, they provide brochures for patients to take home and websites for further research. However, some of these resources may not be accessible in unsupported browsers.

Step 4: Undergo A Physical Examination

A physical examination is necessary for diagnosing nail fungus. This examination may involve a skin test or a culture of the nail.

Step 5: Get Laboratory Tests

The significance of getting laboratory tests done in order to diagnose nail fungus is important because it helps ensure that the correct treatment is given. Without these tests, diagnosing nail fungus can be difficult and incorrect treatments may cause further damage.

Step 6: Use Imaging Tests

A doctor may use imaging tests to diagnose nail fungus in order to get a better understanding of the condition and to determine the extent and location of the infection. Imaging tests can also provide valuable information about how best to treat it, allowing doctors to make more informed decisions about treatment options.

Step 7: Treat The Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is an abnormal fungal infection that can cause discoloration, thickening, and crumbling of the nails. To treat nail fungus, doctors typically prescribe oral or topical antifungal medications. In cases where these treatments do not work, surgery may be necessary. Additionally, newer treatments using special light to kill the fungus are being tested by doctors. Treatment for nail fungus generally takes 6 to 18 months and the patient should see signs of improvement in that time if the treatment is effective; new healthy nails should start growing from the base of their infected nail over a few months’ time. If there are no signs of improvement after a few weeks of treatment, it may be necessary for them to consult with their doctor again about other possible options for treatment.

What Are The Treatments For Nail Fungus?

1. Oral antifungal medications

The first line of treatments for nail fungus includes antifungal creams or medicated nail polishes. These medications can work quickly, often in just a few months. However, they may have serious side effects and so should be monitored closely by healthcare providers who will prescribe them. Side effects of these treatments may include rash. People over 65 may not be the best candidates for this type of treatment and should discuss it with their healthcare provider to determine the best option.

2. Topical Antifungal Medications

The most common treatments for nail fungus are topical antifungal medications such as terbinafine, ketoconazole, ciclopirox nail paint, amorolfine, and efinaconazole. These medications can be applied directly to the skin or taken orally in tablet or liquid suspension form. Topical agents are typically used daily for a year or more in order to achieve the best results. In more severe cases, these topical treatments may be combined with oral medication. It is important to note that these treatments may take up to a year before they begin working effectively.

3. Laser Treatments

Laser treatment is a medical procedure that uses a focused beam of light to target and reduce fungal nail infections. During the treatment, the laser beam is used to heat and kill fungus living in and beneath the nails, allowing healthy tissue to regrow without infection. The procedure may need to be repeated several times for optimal results and can be expensive.

4. Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment that uses lasers or LED lights in combination with special chemicals to destroy cancer cells. PDT is effective for treating many different types of cancers, including pancreatic, ovarian, and brain cancers. Depending on the type of cancer being treated, PDT may be used in conjunction with other treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy to produce the best possible outcome.

5. Home Remedies

A few home remedies for treating nail fungus include apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and garlic. These treatments may help reduce the symptoms of nail fungus and may even eliminate it in some cases. However, consulting with a doctor is advised to ensure that the treatment chosen is appropriate for the individual situation.

6. Antifungal Nail Polish

Antifungal nail polish is a treatment for nail fungus that uses paints and lotions. It works by slowly replacing the infected part of the nail with healthy new nails. The antifungal medication in the polish helps to stop the growth of fungi, reducing inflammation and infection from spreading. The treatment may take between 6 and 18 months for the appearance of the affected nail to return to normal, but it is thought to be effective in treating fungal infections. To see results, one must apply antifungal nail polish daily for almost a year, after which they should start seeing a new healthy nail start to grow from the base of their fingernail or toe-nail over time as the infection clears up.

7. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is not an effective treatment for nail fungus and can cause irritation to the skin surrounding the affected area. Studies have shown that other topical treatments may be more successful in clearing up nail fungal infections, though these treatments may not provide a complete cure. Other alternatives such as snakeroot extract, oregano oil, and Vicks VapoRub have demonstrated potential clinical efficacy against nail fungus, but tea tree oil should not be used alone due to the potential side effects. Ozonized oils have been found to be more effective than antifungal medications when it comes to treating nail fungus; however, there is no scientific evidence that supports using alternative medicines in treating this condition.

8. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from apples. It has been found to have antifungal properties and can be used to treat nail fungus. Research shows that it can be applied topically, as a soak or compress, or taken orally in small amounts to reduce the chances of developing an infection caused by fungal growth on nails. In one study, ozonized sunflower oil was found to be more effective than the prescribed antifungal medication ketoconazole for treating nail fungus. However, it is important to note that apple cider vinegar is not a reliable treatment for every case of nail fungus and should not be relied upon alone; other treatments such as oregano oil, Vicks VapoRub and Snakeroot extract may also need to be considered if treating an existing infection does not prove successful using apple cider vinegar alone.

9. Baking Soda

Baking soda is known to be a natural antifungal agent, and it can be used as an effective treatment for nail fungus. The alkaline nature of baking soda helps to kill the fungus and prevent its further spread. To use baking soda for nail fungus, dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water, then soak your affected nails in the solution for about 30 minutes before rinsing with clear water. Doing this twice daily can help reduce the symptoms associated with nail fungus such as discoloration, brittle or thickened nails, and an unpleasant odor. People who are at risk of developing nail fungus should also take extra precautions to keep their feet dry and wear appropriate footwear that allows their feet to breathe.

10. Coconut Oil

Studies have suggested that coconut oil may be effective in treating nail fungus. Several studies have provided evidence to support the potential effectiveness of coconut oil for treating nail fungus. Additionally, chemical or surgical debridement of the affected nail appears to improve outcomes when used in conjunction with treatments such as topical medications or laser therapy. Therefore, the evidence for using coconut oil to treat nail fungus is promising and warrants further study.


What Is Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus is an abnormal fungal infection that affects several nails and is caused by mold and yeast. Symptoms of nail fungus can include discoloration, thickening, crumbling or separation from the nail bed, as well as yellowing or white patches on the surface of the nails. Treatment for nail fungus may include taking antifungal medications, applying topical antifungals to the affected area, using tea tree oil products or undergoing laser treatment. Self-care steps such as keeping feet dry and avoiding excessive moisture can also help to reduce symptoms. However, it is important to note that even with treatment nail fungus may come back after some time.

What Are The Causes Of Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus is caused by various fungi, with the most common being dermatophyte. Other types of microscopic organisms, such as yeast, bacteria and molds can also cause nail fungal infections. Nail fungus can be contracted through contact with contaminated surfaces or fungal spores. Additionally, athlete’s foot can also be caused by a fungal infection.

What Are The Symptoms Of Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus can present a variety of symptoms, including a white or yellow spot on the nail, which may spread and turn the entire nail black. The affected nail may also become thick, brittle, and difficult to trim. An odor from either the foot or the nail itself may become apparent with this condition as well as changes in color, shape or texture of the nails. Additionally, white or yellow streaks may appear and corners of nails may crumble away. In some cases, infection could be so severe that it causes an entire nail to fall off completely.

What Are The Treatment Options For Nail Fungus?

Treatment options for nail fungus vary depending on the severity of the infection. Common treatments include oral antifungals for both mild and serious infections, as well as topical antifungals which may be used in combination with oral antifungals. If these treatments are not successful, surgery may be an option while laser or photodynamic therapy is being studied as possible treatments. Topical toenail fungus treatments involve applying an antifungal medicine directly to the nail and can take up to a year or longer to work effectively.

How Can Nail Fungus Be Prevented?

Preventing nail fungus is possible with proper care and preventive measures. Keeping nails trimmed and clean, avoiding getting a manicure or pedicure from an untrusted salon, wearing moisture-reducing socks, choosing shoes that fit well and are made of breathable material, wearing different pairs of socks or shoes multiple days in a row and avoiding wet foot syndrome can help keep one’s feet dry is key to preventing nail fungus. Consulting with a podiatrist for tips on prevention is also recommended.

How Is Nail Fungus Diagnosed?

A doctor can diagnose nail fungus by examining debris scraped from underneath the nails. Other conditions that are capable of causing similar symptoms must be ruled out before a fungal infection is confirmed. To ensure an accurate diagnosis, a doctor may send the sample to a laboratory for further analysis.

What Are The Risks Factors For Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus can affect anyone, but there are certain factors which may increase the risk. These include frequent contact with infectious fungi, damaged nails, tight shoes or having athlete’s foot in the past. People who have psoriasis or a weakened immune system may be at greater risk of developing nail fungus. Additionally, older age, wearing sweaty shoes and being barefoot in damp public areas also put people at risk of nail fungus infection. Finally, those with diabetes, blood flow problems or a weakened immune system are more likely to contract this condition.

What Are The Complications Of Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus can lead to a variety of different complications, ranging from bacterial infection and thick nails to pain and inflammation. People with diabetes or weakened immune systems have an increased risk of experiencing more serious complications, such as cellulitis or bone infection. Diabetics are particularly at risk due to the impairment of their vascular and nerve functions. Treatment options may include over-the-counter or prescription medications, topical treatments, or even surgery; however, it is important that patients be aware of the potential side effects and monitor their symptoms closely for successful treatment outcomes.

How Common Is Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus is a very common condition that affects a wide range of individuals. People of all ages can suffer from nail fungus, but it is more likely to affect older individuals than younger ones. It can take a long time to treat, however, it is not considered severe.

Is Nail Fungus Contagious?

It is a known fact that toenail fungus is contagious and can be spread through direct contact or by touching an infected surface. The fungi that affect the skin are called “ringworm”. Furthermore, it is possible for toenail fungus to spread to other parts of the body such as between toes, other toes, and even the groin area.

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