Onychomycosis is an infection of the toenail or fingernails.
|Fungal Infection of the Toenails|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
The infection is caused by a fungus. It can spread to humans from direct contact. This type of fungus lives in warm, moist places such as showers.
Things that increase the risk of onychomycosis include:
Onychomycosis may cause:
- Thickened nail that is difficult to cut
- Brittle or ragged nail
- Discolored or unsightly nail
- Pain in the nail with normal use
It may happen in one or more of the nails.
The doctor will ask about and past health. A physical exam will be done. A piece of the nail may be removed for testing. Results make take several weeks.
Onychomycosis can be hard to treat. It may return after treatment. Treatment options include:
- Antifungal medicine—may be pills or creams and lotions applied to the area
- Surgery—nail may need to be removed for severe infections
Nails grow slowly. It can take up to a year to clear the nail.
Steps that may lower the chance of onychomycosis:
- Keep feet clean. Dry them completely after washing.
- Keep hands dry. Wear rubber gloves when cleaning.
- Keep nails short and clean. Trim them straight across.
- Do not trim or pick at the skin near nails.
- Do not wear shoes that are too tight.
- Wear cotton socks that can pull moisture away from skin. Change socks if they are damp.
- Use footwear when walking around swimming pools, locker rooms, and other public places.
- Avoid artificial nails. They can trap moisture.
American Academy of Dermatology https://www.aad.org
Foot Health Facts—American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons https://www.foothealthfacts.org
Canadian Podiatric Medical Association http://www.podiatrycanada.org
The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca
Nandedkar-Thomas MA, Scher RK. An update on disorders of the nails. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005;52(5):877-887.
Onychomycosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115521/Onychomycosis . Updated December 3, 2018. Accessed January 11, 2019.
Onychomycosis. Merck Profesional Manual. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/nail-disorders/onychomycosis. Updated November 2017. January 11, 2019.
Westerberg DP, Voyack MJ. Oonychomycosis: Current trends in diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2013;88(11):762-770.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Monica Zangwill, MD, MPH
- Review Date: 11/2019
- Update Date: 11/05/2019