Fungal Skin Infections

Picture of Fungal Nail Infection

Picture of Fungal Nail Infection

Toenail fungus is a very common infection that causes nails to become brittle or discolored. Older people are more likely to develop toenail fungus infections than younger people.

A brownish or whitish-yellow nail color often signals toenail fungal infection. The infection can be painful and may cause toenails to become thick, brittle, or to change shape. The big toenail is most likely to be infected with nail fungus.

People at greater risk of toenail fungal infection include those with damaged nails, circulatory problems in the legs or athlete's foot, and those who frequently contact fungi in environments like swimming pools and saunas. Wearing tight shoes increases the risk of toenail fungus.

Treatment for toenail fungal infection may involve the use of medicated, over-the-counter, colorless nail polishes that often contain amorolfine or ciclopirox. Other topical treatments include urea-based creams and creams containing bifonazole.

Oral medications are more effective than topical treatments at treating toenail fungal infection, but they also have more side effects and possible drug interactions. Itraconazole or terbinafine are common oral treatments. They typically need to be taken for at least 3 months.

Image Source: iStockPhoto / Adrian Beesley

Text Reference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Fungal Nail Infections”