Fungal nails, also known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium, are a fungal infection of the nails. Fungal nails are often characterized by discoloured, crumbly, thickened, and brittle nails, and sometimes malodorous. The fungal infection can sometimes spread to the surrounding skin or may have originated in the skin, like the athlete’s foot, and spread to the nails.
There are 3 types of fungal nails, each caused by specific species of fungal cells. They are called:
Fungal nail infections are opportunistic, which means that the fungal cells are given the right conditions to start an infection. There are multiple causes and risk factors of fungal nail infections and are often difficult to determine.
Causes and risk factors of fungal nails include:
Fungal nails can present in various appearances. Signs and symptoms of fungal nails include:
The appearance of fungal nails is classified into 3 categories:
Fungus is known to be stubborn and difficult to eradicate. Patients are often misled into trying various home remedies with little to no improvements. Fungal nails should be treated early for faster results and to prevent further spread.
Treatment options for fungal nails include:
Fungal nails are easier to prevent than to treat. It is important to: