Nail Fungal Infection


Fungal Infection can affect any part of the body. Fungi are normally present in and on the body alongside various bacteria. But when a fungus begins to overgrow, you can get an infection. Fungal nail infections are common infections of the fingernails or toenails that can cause the nail to become discolored, thick and more likely to crack and break. Infections are more common in toenails than fingernails. The technical name for a fungal nail infection is onychomycosis.

Onychomycosis, also called tinea unguium is a fungal infection that affects either the fingernails or toenails. Fungal infections normally develop over time, so any immediate difference in the way your nail looks or feels may be too subtle to notice at first.

Fungi that are already present in or on your body can cause nail infections. If you have come in contact with someone else who has a fungal infection, you may have contracted it as well. Fungal infections affect toenails more commonly than fingernails, likely because your toes are usually confined to shoes where they’re in a warm, moist environment.

Symptoms of Nail Fungal Infection

Nails with a fungal infection are often:

A fungal nail infection may not cause any obvious symptoms at first.

  • Discoloration of the nail it may turn white, black, yellow or green.
  • Hardening of the nail.
  • Thickening and distortion of the nail it may become an unusual shape or texture and be difficult to trim.
  • Swelling, tenderness and redness around the nail.
  • Fragile or cracked.
  • Deformation or damage to the nail
  • Pain or discomfort, particularly when using or placing pressure on the affected toe or finger.
  • The nail separating from the nail bed.
  • Puss-filled abscesses.
  • Brittle or crumbly nails pieces may break off and come away completely.

A fungal nail infection usually isn’t painful unless it becomes severe. Some people who have fungal toenail infections also have a fungal skin infection on the foot, especially between the toes.

Causes for Nail Fungal Infection

There are many different causes of fungal nail infections. Each cause has a treatment of its own. Although many of the causes of a fungal nail infection are preventable, some risk factors increase the likelihood of developing one. You’re more likely to develop a fungal nail infection if you:

  • Have diabetes
  • Biting or chewing the nails
  • Have a disease that causes poor circulation
  • Over age 65
  • Wear artificial nails
  • Excessive exposure of the hands to moisture, including frequently sucking the finger
  • Swim in a public swimming pool
  • Nave a nail injury
  • Ingrown nails
  • Manicures
  • Have a skin injury around the nail
  • Have moist fingers or toes for an extended time
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Wear closed-toe shoes, such as tennis shoes or boots
  • Clipping the nails too short


Treatments for paronychia will vary, depending on the severity and whether it is chronic or acute. A person with mild, acute paronychia can try soaking the affected finger or toe in warm water three to four times  a day. If symptoms do not improve, seek further treatment. When a fungal infection causes chronic paronychia, a doctor will prescribe antifungal medication. These medications are topical and typically include clotrimazole or ketoconazole. The best treatment for a fungal nail infection is usually prescription antifungal pills taken by mouth. In severe cases, a doctor might remove the nail completely. It can take several months to a year for the infection to go away.

Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you’re bothered by the appearance of the affected nail, or it’s causing problems such as pain and discomfort. They’ll probably recommend:

  • A doctor will most likely use a medication (such as lidocaine) to numb the entire finger first and then will open the abscess using a surgical knife (scalpel).
  • Antifungal tablets – tablets taken once or twice a day for several months.
  • The best treatment for a fungal nail infection is usually prescription antifungal pills taken by mouth.
  • Antifungal nail paints – special paints applied directly to the nail over several months.
  • A doctor may or may not take a culture of the drainage to check for the type of bacteria involved in the infection.
  • Surgical debridement or removal of the affected nail is also a consideration for cases that are resistant to antifungal and laser treatments for onychomycosis appear to be a promising area for future study.
  • Sometimes packing called a wick is placed in the abscess to allow it to continue to drain when one goes home and to keep it from closing up and reforming the abscess.
  • Nail softening kits  where a paste is used to soften infected parts of the nail, before they’re removed with a scraping device.


Care at home includes warm soaks in warm water or a mixture of 50% warm water and 50% liquid antibacterial soap three to four times daily for about 15 minutes. Other ways to prevent fungal infections of the nails include:

  • Washing your hands after touching infected nails.
  • Keeping the nails short.
  • Clip your fingernails and toenails short and keep them clean.
  • Drying your feet well after showering, especially between your toes.
  • Avoiding contact with irritants.
  • Getting manicures or pedicures from trustworthy salons.
  • Don’t share nail clippers with other people.
  • Avoiding being barefoot in public places.
  • Avoiding submerging the hands in water for long periods.
  • Taking care when cutting the nails.
  • Keep your hands and feet clean and dry.
  • Educing your use of artificial nails and nail polish.
  • Moisturizing after washing the hands.
  • Avoiding biting or chewing the nails.
  • Keeping the hands and nails clean.
  • Don’t walk barefoot in areas like locker rooms or public showers.

Hope this Symptoms and cure article will be helpful to all. Do not forget to share your valuable suggestions if any.

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