Nail fungus can affect one or more nails, but is most common in toenails. As with all fungi, nail fungus lives well in warm and moist environments. Factors that can increase the risk of developing nail fungus include nail injuries, wet socks, tight shoes, improper nail cleaning and pre-existing athlete’s foot.
The nails become thickened, brittle and dull with no shine. You may feel pain in your toes or fingertips even when doing routine activities.
To confirm a diagnosis, a dermatologist may scrape some debris from your nail and send it to a lab for culture and microscopy.
As nails grow slowly, the treatment can take years and is not simple. Repeat infections are common.
- Medications: The doctor may prescribe oral antifungal medication and/or antifungal nail lacquer.
- Surgery: As last option for severe and resistant cases, surgery may be required to remove the affected nail(s).
- Keep your hands and feet clean. Dry them after washing.
- Trim and thin the nails. Do not remove the skin around the nail.
- Avoid wearing tight shoes. Wear cotton socks that absorb perspiration and change them when they are wet.
- Avoid walking barefoot in communal areas or swimming pools.
- People who have diabetes should seek medical attention for blood sugar control.