Causes and symptoms of toenail fungus

Any type of fungus that infects humans is an infectious disease. Nail fungus - onychomycosis, is no exception. Anyone can be at risk. When symptoms appear, you should definitely consult a doctor and not self-medicate. Mushroom treatment is always long-term.

Causes of toenail fungus

How to catch a mushroom:

ways of infection and causes of the appearance of fungus on the toenails
  • If you do not follow the rules of personal hygiene when visiting public places (swimming pool, gym, sauna);
  • In the event of the negligence of an employee of a pedicure salon;
  • Try on someone else's shoes;
  • From a sick person or a pet.

But here it is worth noting that the fungus will develop only in a favorable environment for it (humidity and heat).

Increased sweating of the legs, cracks in the feet and interdigital folds, abrasions and cuts are the best conditions for the development of onychomycosis.

A weakened immune system also contributes to the development of the disease.

Symptoms of toenail fungus

When the nail plate is healthy, it appears uniform and smooth. When a fungal infection enters, dramatic changes occur.

If you notice a violation of the appearance of the nails and discomfort, consult a doctor immediately!

Self-medication is not beneficial, but you can weaken the immune system. Yes, and before treating, you need to make sure it's just a fungus and not a manifestation of allergies or vitamin deficiency. The clinic will carry out a scraping of the affected nail and carry out the necessary research.

The symptoms of nail fungus vary depending on the form of the disease.

Distal-lateral shape

The first signs of toenail fungus: the disease affects the nail bed along the edge, changing its color from pale pink to yellow. Pathogenic microbes "settle" between the nail bed and the plaque itself.

On the edge, the nail becomes brittle and the plaque is prone to delamination. As the fungus penetrates under the nail, the thickness of the plaque increases. If medical assistance is not provided at this stage, the matrix (the beginning of nail growth) is involved in the infection process, and onychomycosis passes into another form.

Surface shape

damage to the nails with a superficial form of fungus on the legs

The superficial white shape is characterized by white spots on the nail. They are usually located in the center of the plate without touching the edge.

The formation (growth) of the nail in this form does not suffer, and many patients do not rush to the doctor, not seeing the severity of the disease. In the meantime, the dish loosens so much that it can be easily "combed".

Proximal subungual form

The proximal subungual form is rare but possible. Here, the cause of the infection is a fungus that penetrates from the surrounding skin.

The disease begins with the grip of the nail, which changes color, and the nail at this point becomes thicker. Since the very place where the plate comes from is affected, the growth stops accordingly and in the future the whole plate also exfoliates.

Nail dystrophy

The most severe form of injury occurs when treatment for all of the above forms is initiated. This type of injury is called total dystrophy.

With dystrophy, the nail is almost completely destroyed. The process takes place gradually, sometimes over several years.

For any form of disease or if there is a suspicion of a fungal infection, you should consult a doctor. Onychomycosis does not go away without treatment.

Fungal infections are remarkably resistant and favorable factors keep them alive. Proper and timely treatment under the supervision of a specialist will restore the nails to a healthy state.

Which doctor treats fungi

To successfully treat a fungus, it is not enough to use only over-the-counter antifungals. Even the funds of the most famous pharmaceutical companies are only "weapons" in the hands of a specialist doctor. Only a professional can correctly draw up a treatment plan, taking into account the nature and stage of the disease, and recommend a specific algorithm for medical and hygienic procedures.

Regardless of the cause of toenail fungus, see your doctor!

One such professional in the treatment of fungi is a dermatologist. The staff of the large clinics has an even narrower specialty: a mycologist. He is a dermatologist who specializes in the treatment of fungal diseases and has extensive experience in this field.

Sometimes you may need the help of a surgeon. A dermatologist refers to him if it becomes necessary to remove the affected nails.

Treatment of fungi with drugs

All drugs for the treatment of nail fungus are divided into 2 groups:

  • Local action;
  • System action.

Local treatment is indicated only in the initial stages of the disease in small areas of damage. In other cases, along with local agents, antifungal drugs are used. This treatment is called a combination treatment and is more effective.

Local remedies

These include ointments, creams, gels, liquids and paints that contain fungicidal (antifungal) drugs.

Antifungal ointments are of 2 types in composition: azole and allylamine. Both types of ointments are highly effective, differing only in the mechanism of action on fungi.

There are special solutions used for nail treatment. Antifungal nail polishes have also become very popular.

Drugs for systemic treatment

Antifungal drugs are prescribed in the courses individually for each patient. In addition, local agents are selected, since there is no general treatment regimen, it is always prescribed individually.

Folk remedies and the effectiveness of their use

Traditional medicine has accumulated many proven treatments for nail fungus. The most effective are birch tar, celandine, onions and garlic, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda.

Birch tar

Apply cleanly to the nails and skin of the feet after bathing, leave to absorb for 1, 5 hours.

The procedure is repeated after 2 days.

Tar soap is also used: after the bath, the affected areas of the feet are abundantly soaped and left overnight, in the morning the feet are washed.

The procedure is performed daily.


Prepare a mixture of equal parts of celandine juice and denatured alcohol. Treat your nails 2-3 times a day after a warm foot bath. You can take baths with celandine infusion: add 50 g of dry celandine to 1 liter of boiling water, insist for half an hour, then heat to 60-70 ° and let your feet rise for 15 minutes.

Onions and garlic

Apply fresh gruel in the form of compresses to the nail area and prepare an alcoholic tincture of garlic in a ratio of 1: 10, lubricate the nails with it several times a day.

Apple cider vinegar

An acidic environment has a detrimental effect on fungi. Use 9% vinegar to lubricate your nails, in the form of compresses diluted with water 1: 1, or make foot baths by adding half a glass of vinegar to 1 liter of warm water.

Sodium bicarbonate

The alkaline reaction of baking soda kills fungi and softens the nail plate. Hot soda baths are used: 1 tablespoon of soda per 1 liter of water. They also make compresses with soda paste (gruel from a mixture of soda and water).

All folk remedies are applied until a new and healthy nail grows back. The main thing is not to forget to consult a doctor, so as not to cause harm instead of treatment.


And don't forget the prevention rules:

prevention of the appearance of fungus on the toenails
  • On the beach, in the pool, in public showers, do not go barefoot (shoes must always be individual);
  • Don't wear shoes that are too tight;
  • Use special products to prevent foot sweating (deodorants and creams);
  • Always treat and heal scratches, cracks and cuts on your feet;
  • Use a special antifungal spray (available at the pharmacy).

Now you know the causes of toenail fungus and the basics of treatment.