Nail Fungus

Fungal nail infections, or onychomycosis, can occur when a fungus invades a fingernail or toenail. They are most often seen in adults and can affect both men and women. Even mild cases can be unpleasant and embarrassing, and more severe cases can be very painful, so it’s important to seek treatment as soon as you notice any symptoms of a fungal infection.

Causes

Some people are genetically more susceptible to nail fungus. Spending time in public pools, locker room showers, or other moist, warm environments can increase your risk of developing a fungal infection, especially if you have skin or nail injuries. Nail care tools and equipment can also spread fungus if not properly cleaned and sanitized.

Symptoms

Fungal infections in the nails may begin with white or yellow patches on the nail. As the fungus spreads, your nail may turn brittle, change shape or color, or become loose and pull away from your finger. The skin at the base of the nail may also become swollen.

Treatment

Over-the-counter creams and ointments are generally not effective in treating nail fungal infections. Your doctor may prescribe oral antifungal medications. In some cases, the infected nail will need to be removed so that a new, healthy nail can grow back in its place. It may take several months to a year for a new nail to completely grow in.