Nail Fungus


Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is a prevalent infection that starts as a white or yellow-brown spot under the nail and can lead to discoloration, thickening, and crumbling as it worsens. While it may not require treatment if symptoms are mild, more severe cases involving pain and thickened nails can benefit from self-care and medications. However, even with successful treatment, there’s a tendency for the infection to recur. This condition can affect multiple nails and is related to athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) when it spreads to the skin between the toes and feet.


Indications of nail fungus encompass the following characteristics in one or more nails:

  • Discoloration
  • Bad odor
  • Deformity
  • Thickness
  • Separation from the nail bed
  • Brittleness, crumbliness, or raggedness

Although nail fungus can affect both fingernails and toenails, it is more commonly observed in toenails.

If your attempts at self-care are unsuccessful and you notice increasing discoloration, thickening, or deformities in the nail, it is advisable to seek guidance from a doctor. Additionally, consult with your healthcare provider if you experience the following:

  • Bleeding in the vicinity of the nails
  • Swelling or discomfort surrounding the nails
  • Diabetes and suspect the onset of nail fungus
  • Challenges with walking


Nail fungus arises from different fungal organisms, with dermatophytes being the most prevalent type. Yeast, bacteria, and molds can also lead to nail infections, with bacterial infections often resulting in green or black discoloration. The condition may spread between the foot and the nail, as seen with athlete’s foot, which can extend to the nail, and vice versa. Additionally, the infection can be contracted from environments conducive to fungal growth, such as gym shower floors or the insides of dark, damp, and sweaty footwear.

Risk factors

Risk factors for the development of nail fungus include:

  • Walking barefoot in humid public spaces like swimming pools, gyms, and shower rooms
  • Advanced age
  • Sustaining minor skin or nail injuries
  • Utilizing footwear that induces heavy foot perspiration.
  • Having diabetes, circulatory issues, or a compromised immune system
  • Previous instances of athlete’s foot
  • Being afflicted with a skin condition impacting the nails, such as psoriasis