Fungal nail infection is a fungus growing in and around your fingernail or toenail.
Nails - fungal infection; Onychomycosis; Tinea unguium
Fungi can live on the dead tissues of the hair, nails, and outer skin layers.
Common fungal infections include:
Fungal nail infections often start after a fungal infection on the feet. They occur more often in toenails than in fingernails. And they are most often seen in adults as they age.
You are at higher risk of getting a fungal nail infection if you have any of the following:
Symptoms include nail changes on one or more nails (usually toenails), such as:
Over-the-counter creams and ointments usually do not help treat this condition.
Prescription antifungal medicines that you take by mouth may help clear the fungus.
Laser treatments may sometimes get rid of the fungus in the nails. This is less effective than medicines.
In some cases, you may need to have the nail removed.
The fungal nail infection is cured by the growth of new, non-infected nails. Nails grow slowly. Even if treatment is successful, it may take up to a year for a new clear nail to grow.
Fungal nail infections may be hard to treat. Medicines clear up fungus in about one half of the people who try them.
Even when treatment works, the fungus may return.
Call your provider if:
Good general health and hygiene help prevent fungal infections.
Dinulos JGH. Nail diseases. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 25.
Holguin T, Mishra K. Fungal infections of the skin. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP. eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2021. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:1039-1043.
Tosti A. Tinea unguium. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson IH, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 243.