Onychomycosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention

You must have faced a situation where you have seen the foot nails of the person in crumbled shape which looked some weird to you. That is nothing but the fungal infection of the toenails which is also called Onychomycosis. This may look easy to treat and get rid of but once it happens it is difficult to get rid of the fungal infection. Let us try to know more about this fungal infection Onychomycosis, how it is caused, symptoms to find out easily if you have it or not, diagnosis, treatment methods and prevention that you can take to reduce its growth. Let us now get into the article.

What is Onychomycosis?

Fungal infection can affect any part of the body but nail fungus is a common condition or disease to occur. Nail fungal infection is also known as Onychomycosis. It begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of the fingernail. With the increase in the fungal infection, this nail fungus can cause discoloring, thickening and crumbling of the nail at the edge. It can affect several nails at one time. If the condition is mild and did not bother the person then there is no need for treatment. But, if nail fungus is painful then self-care and medications are required.

Causes of Onychomycosis

Onychomycosis which is fungal nail infection is caused due to fungi. This is caused due to fungi Dermatophyte. Other than this yeast and moulds can also cause fungi infection. Fungal nail infection can occur at any age but usually, it occurs at old age. The infection also spread from one person to another person. Some factors increase the chances of Onychomycosis which are as follows:

  • Diabetes of the person
  • Age of person above 50
  • The person who wear artificial nails
  • Swimming in public swimming pool
  • Having a nail injury
  • Moist fingers or nail for the extended time
  • Wearing closed toe shoes
  • Weak immune system
  • Walking barefoot in the communal area
  • Sweating heavily
  • Having slow circulation or circulation problem

Symptoms of Onychomycosis

Onychomycosis has some symptoms which can be easily detectable by the person as a sign of having the fungal infection. These symptoms are as follows:

  • Thickened nails which causes pain while wearing shoes
  • Yellow or white discolouration of the nail
  • Crumbled corners or top of the nail
  • The nail may get distorted
  • An odour coming from the infected nail
  • A dark colour caused by debris build under the nail

Diagnosis of Onychomycosis

Fungal nail infection can be identified easily by looking or its appearance. However, other conditions can cause it to look like the fungal infection for which further diagnosis is done by the doctor.

The basic thing after the appearance of the nail is examining the nail under the microscope. Here the doctor takes some nail debris from the sides or under the nail send the sample to identify the cause of the infection which can be fungus, yeast and bacteria.

Treatment and Medication of Onychomycosis

Treatment of Onychomycosis depends on the severity of the infection and type of fungus causing it. Even after the nail condition improves fungal infection can occur again. Some treatment and medication of fungal infection are followed:

  • Oral antifungal drugs: Oral antifungal drugs are usually preferred as they clear infection more quickly as compared to other methods. Drugs such as Lamisil, Sporanox help to grow a new nail by replacing the older infected nail.
  • Medicated nail polish: An antifungal nail polish called Ciclopirox may also be subscribed by the doctor. With this nail polish, you apply it on your infected nails and surrounding skin once a day. After seven days, the piled-on layers are wiped off with alcohol and again fresh nail polish is applied.
  • Medicated nail cream: Doctor prescribes an antifungal cream, which is rubbed onto the infected nails after soaking. The cream works better when nails are thinned at first. With this method, medication works better to work on the fungus.
  • Surgery: The doctor may also suggest for surgery where doctor remove the nail and apply antifungal drug directly to the infection under the nail. Also, if the infection is not cured of any treatment doctor might suggest permanently removal of the nail which is extremely painful.

Preventive Measures for Onychomycosis

Some of the habits or steps if taken by the person can help to reduce the infection and prevent Onychomycosis. These preventive measures are as follows:

  • Always wash your hands and feet and do moisturize the nails or nearby area with any kind of moisturizer.
  • Wear sweat absorbing socks or keep on changing your socks daily if you have sweaty feet.
  • Never go barefooted in the common areas such as gym, pool etc.
  • Ask your saloon to sterilize instruments used for manicure and pedicure after each use.
  • Wear shoes of that material which allow air to pass through them.
  • Drying your feet after showering especially the area between the toes
  • Reduce the use of artificial nails and nail polish
  • Trim and thin the nails which will help to reduce the pain by reducing the pressure.
  • Several antifungal creams and ointments are available which you can apply after soaking them in water and drying them completely.


Onychomycosis or fungal infection of the nails can be difficult to cure for some individuals and maybe the medication won’t show any result. The nail infection is considered to be cured only when it is free from infection. Taking certain steps might help you to reduce the infection if not treated properly. Here in this article, we provided you detailed information regarding Onychomycosis which will be useful to you. Also, people with diabetes are at greater risk of developing the fungal infection and to avoid any complication visiting doctor is highly recommended.


Ritu Saini

I am happy go lucky girl who believes in present and make the most of it. Visiting new places, painting and playing badminton are my hobbies. I am a simple living and thinking personality and very helping by nature.

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