Back To Pamphlet Listing
Fungal Nail Infections
What is a fungal nail infection?
A fungal infection of the nail (onychomycosis) occurs when a fungus has invaded the keratin that makes up the nail. The most common type (Tinea ungium) is caused by dermatophytes (ringworm).
What leads to a fungal infection?
Fungi can be spread from ‘athletes’ foot (ringworm of the foot or tinea pedis). If equipment used for pedicures are not properly sterilized, fungal nail infections can be spread. Individuals with a reduced immune system e.g. diabetics are at increased risk of the condition.
What does the infected nail look and feel like?
The nail may be…
- painful when pressed under shoe
- thick and/or crumbly
- lifting at the edge
- have debris underneath it
- have white patches
How can it be diagnosed?
Your Doctor can send clippings of the nail to the lab to help identify the fungus.
How can fungal nail infections be treated?
Oral antifungal medications are needed to cure fungal nail infections. Topical antifungal treatment can be used in addition to oral therapy. The abnormal nail material can be removed with filing and in some cases nail surgery may be done. The feet should be kept as dry as possible using breatheable shoes and antifungal powders if possible. Socks should be changed daily.