Nail Fungus Treatment

Nail fungus, commonly observed, is an irritating condition both for health and cosmetic reasons. Nail fungi can affect a single nail or spread across multiple nails, causing discoloration, thickening, or crumbling of the nails. This article compiles information on nail fungus and its treatments.


What is Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus is a prevalent condition that typically starts as a yellow or white spot just below the tip of the nail. In mild cases, nail fungi might not bother individuals enough to seek treatment. However, in some instances, nail fungus can lead to painful and thickened nails. Nail fungus is also referred to as onychomycosis or tinea unguium.


What are the Symptoms of Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus manifests with symptoms such as:


  • Thickened tissue
  • White-yellow or brown color changes
  • Flaking or irregular texture
  • Deformation of shape
  • Mild odor
  • Foot nail fungus is much more commonly observed compared to nail fungus in the hands.


What Causes Nail Fungus?

Various organisms, referred to as fungi, cause nail fungal infections. Additionally, yeast and molds can also lead to nail infections.


While nail fungal infections can occur in individuals of any age, they are more prevalent in elderly adults. As nails age, they become brittle and dry. Dry tissue causes nails to crack, making it easier for fungi to enter and settle in these cracks. Another reason for increased occurrences of nail fungus in old age is factors like reduced circulation in the feet and a weakened immune system.


Sometimes, a foot nail fungus can originate on the foot and spread to the nails. Contracting an infection from another person is very rare.


What are the Risk Factors for Developing Nail Fungus?

Factors that can increase your risk of developing nail fungus include:


  • Advanced age (alongside the reasons mentioned earlier, being exposed to fungi for longer years and having slower-growing nails)
  • Excessive sweating
  • History of foot fungus
  • Walking barefoot in moist, communal areas like swimming pools, gyms, and showers
  • Having a minor skin or nail injury or a skin condition like psoriasis
  • Having diabetes, circulation problems, or a weakened immune system
  • Are there Complications of Nail Fungus?
  • A severe case of nail fungus can cause pain and permanent damage to the nails. Having a suppressed immune system due to medication, diabetes, or other conditions can lead to the spread of infections to other serious parts of the body.


Untreated diabetes in patients can affect blood circulation and the nerve network in the feet. Additionally, the risk of bacterial skin infections is higher. Therefore, in these cases, even minor foot injuries, including nail fungal infections, can lead to a more serious complication. If you have diabetes and suspect that you have developed nail fungus, seek immediate medical attention.

How is Nail Fungus Treated?

Treatment is typically a prolonged process that requires consistent management. Here are some methods used to treat nail fungus:


  • Antifungal Creams and Lotions: This is one of the most commonly used methods involving topical (applied to the skin) treatments against fungal infections. These creams and lotions should be regularly applied to the infected area. However, the effectiveness of these methods may vary depending on the extent of the infection’s spread and the damage to the nail.
  • Oral Antifungal Medications: In more severe infections, doctors may prescribe oral (taken by mouth) antifungal medications. These medications target the fungal infection from inside the body. However, long-term use of these medications may lead to some side effects, so they should be used under the guidance of a doctor.
  • Nail Trimming: Regularly trimming nails affected by a fungal infection can help prevent its spread. However, this method only assists in alleviating symptoms and does not directly treat the fungus.
  • Laser Treatment: In some cases, laser treatment can be used to treat fungal infections. Laser light can inhibit the growth of the fungus. However, further research is needed to determine the effectiveness and long-term results of this treatment.
  • Home Remedies: Some home remedies such as natural oils (e.g., tea tree oil), vinegar, or antifungal components found in nail polish have been tried. However, the effectiveness of these methods has not been conclusively proven.


Treating nail fungus can take a long time, and the effectiveness of the treatment performed may vary depending on the situation. The treatment process may differ based on the severity of the infection, the extent of its spread, and an individual’s overall health condition. It is important to follow doctor recommendations for the best results.

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