Fungal Nail Infection

Everest Remedies
6 min read

Fungal infections 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.


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.


Why does it develop?

A fungal nail infection occurs from the overgrowth of fungi in, under, or on the nail.
Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, so this type of environment can cause them to naturally overpopulate.
The same fungi that cause jock itch, athlete's foot, and ringworm can cause nail infections.


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.


If you get a manicure or pedicure at a nail salon, be sure to ask how the staff disinfects their tools and how often they do it.

Tools, such as emery boards and nail clippers, can spread fungal infections from person to person if they're not sanitized.



Who's at risk for fungal infections?


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:
1. have diabetes;
2. have a disease that causes poor circulation;
3. are over age 65;
4. wear artificial nails;
5. swim in a public swimming pool;
6. have a nail injury;
7. have a skin injury around the nail;
8. have moist fingers or toes for an extended time;
9. have a weakened immune system.

Nail infections occur more often in men than in women, and the infections are found in adults more often than in children.
If you have family members who often get these types of fungal infections, you're more likely to get them as well.


Older adults have a high risk for getting fungal nail infections because they have poorer circulation.
The nails also grow more slowly and thicken as we age.

Distal subungual infection
Distal subungual infections are the most common type of fungal nail infection and can develop in both fingernails and toenails.

When infected, the outer edge of the nail has a jagged appearance with white and/or yellow streaks across the nail.


The infection invades the nail bed and underside of the nail.


White superficial infection
White superficial infections usually affect toenails.

A certain type of fungus attacks the top layers of the nail and creates well defined white spots on the nail.
Eventually these white patches cover the entire nail, which becomes rough, soft, and prone to crumbling.

Spots on nail may become pitted and flaky.


Proximal subungual infection
Proximal subungual infections are uncommon but can affect both fingernails and toenails.

Yellow spots appear at the base of the nail as the infection spreads upward.
This infection can commonly occur in people with compromised immune systems.

It can also result from minor injury to the nail.


Candida infection
Candida yeasts cause this type of infection.

It can invade nails previously damaged by a prior infection or injury.

More commonly, candida affects fingernails.

It often occurs in people who frequently soak their hands in water.
These infections usually start by the cuticle around the nail, which becomes swollen, red, and tender to the touch.

The nail itself may partially lift off the nail bed, or fall off completely.


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