Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
The term fungal nails, medically known as onychomycosis, refers to a fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails. Fungal infection of the nails may cause changes in the nail itself and its appearance, including symptoms and signs such as
- flaking, and
Fungal nails may appear brittle, broken, and lifted or separated from the nail bed. Changes in the nail appearance are typically the first signs and symptoms of fungal nails. The condition may also cause pain and disfigurement in some cases, although this is not common. In severe cases, fungal nails can cause problems with standing, walking, and exercising. Both oral and topical antifungal drugs may be used in treatment.
Causes of fungal nails
A number of conditions can increase the risk that fungi infect the nails. Fungus that is caught from moist, wet areas are common causes in healthy people. Communal showers, such as those at a gym or swimming pools, are common sources. Visiting nail salons that use inadequate sanitization of instruments (such as clippers, filers, and foot tubs) is another way that the infection may be spread. Living with family members who have fungal nails is another risk factor. Wearing tight-fitting, sweaty shoes associated with repetitive trauma to the toenails occurs in many athletes and increases the susceptibility to fungal nails. People with athlete's foot are more likely to have fungal nails, since the causative fungus may infect the toenails. The elderly and people with suppressed immune function are also at risk.
Trichophyton rubrum is the most common type of fungus to infect the nails. This fungus is a dermatophyte, meaning that it is a fungus that infects skin and nails.
Tosti, Antonella. "Onychomycosis." Medscape.com. Feb. 17, 2016. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1105828-overview>.
Main Article on Nail Fungus (Onychomycosis) Symptoms and Signs
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Other Causes of Nail Fungus (Onychomycosis) Symptoms and Signs
- Broken Nails
- Brown Nails
- Crumbling Nails
- Curved Nails
- Deformed Nails
- Difficulty Exercising
- Difficulty Standing
- Difficulty Walking
- Fingernail or Toenail Pain
- Flaky Nails
- Nail Destruction
- Nail Odor
- Powdery Patches on Nails
- Ragged Edges of Nails
- Raised Nails
- Reddened Skin Around Nails
- Roughened Nails
- Separation or Lifting of Nail From Nail Bed
- Speckled Nails
- Streaks of Yellow or Other Discoloration on Nails
- Swelling of Soft Tissue Around Nails
- Thickened Nails
- White Nails
- Yellowed Nails
Examples of Medications for Nail Fungus (Onychomycosis) Symptoms and Signs
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