What is a nail fungal?

Another name for fungal nail is Onychomycosis.  This is a fungal infection which may cause toenails to thicken, discolour and sometimes split.

What are the causes?

Fungal infections can commonly caused by dermatophytes (fungi e.g.Trichophyton Rubrum) Sometimes, this condition coincides with skin infection, athletes foot (also known as tinea pedis).

If left untreatred fungal nails may also spread from one toe to another. The nails can become deformed, crack, and split.

Treatment of Fungal Nail Infections

If you are concerned and unsure as to whether the nail has any fungal elements, seek advice from a podiatrist or your GP.   For nail infection confirmation your GP may arrange for clippings of your toe nail/s to be sent for culture and if fungi is present to seek the specific identification of the dermatophyte.

Possible treatments may include oral drugs which include antifungal agents such as terbinafine; these may be prescribed by your GP, however, these are costly and your local surgery may not prescribe.  Another available option is to use topical therapies.  Products such ClearZal, Amorolfine (in the form of nail lacquer) or tea tree oil may be recommended if appropriate.  However, advice may be taken from your podiatrist or GP.

Treatment may take several months and in some cases up to a year depending on the severity of the fungal infection and health status of the person.

Foot care recommendation is that you dry your feet thoroughly after bathing, including the toes (perhaps using an astringent between the toes would also reduce possibility of further infection), do not share towels, change your hosiery every day and do no walk barefooted as infection may spread.