ABC Medical Center > Fungal nail infection

What is Fungal nail infection?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


It is a fairly common condition that first appears as a yellowish spot on the inside of the nail. As the infection develops, it is likely to present darkening, deformation, irregular edges, and a tendency to thicken and harden the affected nail.

Also, the fungus can spread to multiple nails and damage the areas between the toes, causing what is known as an athlete’s foot.

Fungal nail infections, also known as onychomycosis, occur at any age, although they are usually more common in the elderly because over time the nails age, fall off, and become brittle, allowing entry and proliferation of fungi.

However, other causes can promote the appearance of fungal nail infection, including: 

  • Being barefoot in public bathrooms and swimming pools.
  • Skin or nail injuries.
  • Having diabetes.
  • Athlete’s foot.
  • Sweaty feet
  • Breathing problems.
  • Have a depressed immune system.

Signs and symptoms Fungal nail infection

The most frequent symptoms consist of changes in the nails:

  • Yellowish hue that tends to progressively darken.
  • They cause pain.
  • They get thick.
  • They become brittle and irregular.
  • Deformation.
  • Foul smell.

A fungal nail infection can spread to other areas of the body, especially if you have diabetes or a weak immune system. Therefore, if you have any of the aforementioned symptoms, go to your doctor to check your nails and avoid possible complications.

Diagnosis and treatment Fungal nail infection

After reviewing your symptoms and medical history, your doctor will examine your nails to assess them and scrape samples to examine under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis and determine the type of fungus present.

Treatment will depend on the severity and type of fungus causing the infection, but you’ll usually need to take oral antifungals to grow a new, healthy nail. You may also need antifungal nail polish to apply daily to damaged nails. Sometimes it is necessary to combine oral and topical antifungal treatments.

However, you should keep in mind that clearing up a fungal infection can take several months and that it can come back.

If the infection is serious and you have a lot of pain, your doctor will probably remove the damaged nail to apply the antifungal directly and attack the infection.


You can perform the following measures to reduce the risk of developing nail fungus, such as:

  • Cut your nails straight and smooth the edges with a file.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public areas.
  • Avoid wearing fake nails.
  • Wash your hands after touching an infected nail.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry.
  • Perform hand and foot hygiene daily.
  • Wear clean socks or stockings every day that help absorb sweat.
  • Wear ventilated shoes and don’t wear the same shoes several days in a row.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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