Why fungus appears on toenails, symptoms and treatment of onychomycosis

Fungal diseases of the toenails are quite common in humans. In addition to the undesirable cosmetic effects, these infections can cause significant damage to the body, so onychomycosis should be treated. However, this requires knowing as much as possible about the disease, especially today, when scientists have identified many types of pathogens.

Types of pathogens

With onychomycosis, the parasites begin in the structure of the nail tissue and the skin around them. According to the generally accepted classification, spore microorganisms that can manifest themselves in humans are divided into three groups:

  • yeast nail fungus, primarily Candida albicans;
  • dermatophyte fungi (genus Trichophyton, Microsporum and Epidermophyton);
  • mold species (genus Aspergillus, Alternaria and Fusarium).

Acute or chronic onychomycosis causes each of them separately. It is not uncommon for two or three of these species to become infected at the same time. Accurate detection of the pathogen at the time of diagnosis is extremely important, because each group of fungal diseases can be treated with different drugs that are not universal.

itchy feet with nail fungus

Reasons for appearance

The reasons for the development of infection can be attributed to both the entry of the pathogen from the external environment and the general condition of the patient's body. Their knowledge will help you understand how to treat nail fungus.

External sources of fungal transmission include:

  1. Swimming pools, locker rooms, showers, baths - public places where people walk barefoot. Therefore, it is necessary to wear shoes for safety when visiting such establishments.
  2. The use of poorly disinfected products in beauty salons during pedicures can be dangerous for the body in general.
  3. Other people's files, scissors and other products used for personal hygiene are no less dangerous.
  4. In summer, closed shoes can be dangerous for the feet to sweat a lot.
  5. In order not to treat onychomycosis of the nails, you should take a bath or shower regularly, because sweat and dirt play a role in a favorable environment for germs.
  6. Some types of onychomycosis are transmitted from pets, but such pathogens are prevalent mainly in warm countries.

Other health problems also contribute to the development of the described disease:

  1. Weakened immune system.
  2. Presence of small wounds and cracks in the skin, dry tissues.
  3. Lots of burrs.
  4. Circulatory disorders of nail tissues.
  5. Contact with fungal pathogens from human skin. This method of infection is called autoinfection.

Thus, there are many sources of fungal infections. These microorganisms are very common all over the world, so a disease such as nail fungus occurs in many people. Thus, it is no longer necessary to know how to treat onychomycosis.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The appearance of a fungus on the legs does not mean the inevitable development of the disease. Onychomycosis develops only in a person with a weakened immune system. But there are many options for how the nail fungus manifests itself. In this case, pay attention to the following symptoms of nail fungus:

  • compression or reduction of the thickness of the stratum corneum;
  • high fragility of the nail plate, its delamination;
  • presence of curls and calluses;
  • unnatural colors: white, yellowish or greenish shades;
  • the roughness of the surface of the nail plate;
  • loss of natural radiance;
  • inflammation of the skin of the toes, itching in the feet;
  • cracked foot.
yellowing of toenails with fungus

With these symptoms, you can learn how fungus starts on toenails.

The treatment of advanced nail fungus is extremely difficult and time consuming. Therefore, the appearance of symptoms of onychomycosis can not be ignored. If they are found, you should see a doctor immediately.

The main purpose of the diagnosis of nail fungus is to accurately determine the cause of the infection. Many species of parasitic organisms are very difficult to detect, especially when the external signs of the disease are easily confused with metabolic disorders.

Onychomycosis is usually diagnosed in several stages, using the following methods to identify toenail fungus:

  • study of clinical data;
  • analysis of a piece of tissue under a microscope;
  • cultural diagnostics;
  • DNA research.

During the initial examination of the patient, the doctor can determine the presence of damage to the nail plate, but it is impossible to understand what is causing the disease without accurate research. Laboratory tests are the only way to identify nail fungus.

A doctor who examines the crumbs under a microscope can tell you exactly what a nail fungus looks like. The difficulty is in determining the specific type of pathogen. Therefore, the diagnosis does not stop at this stage.

The exact culture of the fungus is determined by its cultivation in the laboratory. For this, a special Sabouraud nutrient medium-based nail fungus analysis is used. Usually, after three to five days of such research, experts are able to identify a specific type of pathogen. You can also use this method to check the sensitivity of parasites to drugs and determine the most effective course of treatment.

laboratory diagnosis of nail fungus

Parasitic DNA testing is the current and most promising option for identifying nail fungus, reducing the time required to obtain a result to one or two days. However, such an analysis for nail fungus can only effectively detect the types of yeast.

Who is at risk

As already mentioned, certain categories of people are prone to onychomycosis to varying degrees. The following are the main factors that increase the likelihood of developing an infection:

  1. Reaching retirement age. Due to the decrease in blood circulation and deterioration of metabolism, this disease is more common in the elderly than in other categories of the population. Delayed diagnosis also plays an important role in this, because retirees do not always seek professional help, detecting the symptoms of nail fungus and considering it a common sign of aging.
  2. Mechanical damage to nail tissues. Any injury disrupts the supply of nutrients to the tissues. As a result, the focus of the infection will begin at the site of a fracture or crack, and then spread along the nail, and may even simply fly away from it.
  3. High blood sugar levels cause damage to the blood vessels in the foot. Therefore, the manifestation of onychomycosis is so common in diabetics that it is very difficult to get rid of them.
  4. For the same reason, diseases of the circulatory system, such as Raynaud's syndrome or varicose veins, can cause infection.
  5. Because spores are most likely to multiply both in nail tissue and on the surface of the body, people affected by fungal skin infections are at risk for onychomycosis. After defeat, the disease may recur.
toenail fungus

Danger of ignoring symptoms

Many people do not consult a doctor when they find signs of a fungal infection and only try to treat a fungus that has developed after a while. This is due to the relatively mild course of the disease and the ability to hide cosmetic defects with socks or closed shoes.

However, you should not ignore the first signs and treatment of the disease, otherwise there may be serious complications.

If you ask yourself why toenail fungus is dangerous, then you should start with the fact that onychomycosis is contagious. An infected person will pose a danger to others.

Patients with fungal infections are subject to certain restrictions. A person with an old fungus, for example, will never be issued a medical certificate of admission to the pool.

Being a nail fungus, parasitic disease weakens the patient's immunity and increases the likelihood of other health problems. Trying to treat nail fungus at home can become a more serious problem.

Old onychomycosis leads to serious consequences that should be feared:

  • parasites can enter the circulatory system;
  • lack of treatment for nail fungus seriously weakens the immune system;
  • spores increase allergic reactions, exacerbate chronic diseases;
  • Due to the deterioration of general health, people are more prone to depression, insomnia, etc.
Erasing the nail with a running sponge

Therefore, the first signs of nail fungus should be a reason to go to the clinic.


Treatment of toenail fungus is based on two principles. First, drugs mechanically destroy spores. Second, drugs slow down the reaction of parasites, inhibiting their activity and reproduction. By the way, you should think carefully before deciding on the treatment of nail fungus during pregnancy.

Medicine, folk remedies, laser treatment of nail fungus and medical pedicure are used in medicine.

Pharmacy preparations

Pharmaceutical products have a strong effect. Many of them are specially selected for specific pathogens, which further increases the effectiveness of treatment of nail fungus in children and adults. Of all the ways to quickly treat nail fungus, medicine is the best.

A diet for nail fungus can help to increase the effect. This is determined by the attending physician.

Folk remedies

Often, independent control of parasites does not lead to success, because fungi tend to restore the structure of spores. Therefore, it is better to seek medical help at the first signs of the disease. Only a doctor can confidently suggest how to quickly get rid of nail fungus.

There are many folk options for how to treat nail fungus. For example, essential oils, which serve as a natural antiseptic, help. The main way to treat onychomycosis of the nails at home is to apply a drop of the substance to the affected area, which is then sealed with plaster.

oils for nail fungus

Vinegar, lemon juice and mouthwashes also fight against nail fungus. It is not uncommon to treat nail fungus at home with iodine or garlic. Which of these tools is better to use will be recommended by the attending physician.

An effective way to get rid of nail fungus at home is a mixture based on vodka. To do this, mix 200 ml of alcohol, a teaspoon of lemon juice, half a teaspoon of potassium permanganate. 50 ml of boiled water is added to it, then it should be refrigerated for 3-5 days. With the resulting tool, it is necessary to wipe the affected areas twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime, until the infection is completely eliminated. Such assistance has a restorative effect, although the recovery of damaged tissue will take some time.

All of these items are on the main list that nail fungus is afraid of. A dermatologist or mycologist will tell you how to get rid of the fungus the fastest.

Laser treatment

Recently, laser technology has been added to the main methods of getting rid of fungus on toenails. The principle of laser treatment of nail fungus is the thermal effect of radiation on parasites. It creates a temperature of about 50 degrees, by the way, the answer to this question: at what temperature the fungus dies. At the same time, short-term radiation treatment of fungal diseases has no effect on the human body.

Complex laser treatment usually consists of four sessions, with an interval of one week between them. Authorized medical professionals who provide such services know how to properly treat advanced nail fungus with radiation. Approximately 85% of patients finally recover after laser therapy. This is one of the most effective ways to fight nail fungus.

Medical pedicure

In the early stages of the disease you can apply a medical pedicure for nail fungus, which is the main disadvantage of this method, in addition, the treatment of onychomycosis with varnishes is very long. Therapeutic pedicure for nail fungus involves the use of special formulas applied to the affected area. This service is provided by many beauty salons. However, you can treat nail fungus at home with the help of medical varnish.

By the way, an expert can know how to restore a nail after a fungus.


There are many ways to protect nails from fungal diseases:

  1. The most important thing is daily hygiene.
  2. Slippers should be worn in public places, swimming pools, saunas, dressing rooms.
  3. Do not wear indoor shoes in hot weather.
  4. To avoid fungal infections, do not use other people's personal hygiene products: nail files, scissors, towels, etc.

It is very important to ensure that the child clearly follows these rules.

There are different types of fungal infections of the toenails. Treatment of onychomycosis requires a serious diagnosis, long-term therapy and may require a certain amount of money. Therefore, it is preferable to follow preventive measures and prevent infection with parasites. It is no longer necessary to know how to defeat the fungus.