Fungal Infections

Fungal Infections

What is a fungal infection of the nail?

Fungal infections of the nails are also known as dermatophytic onychomycosis, or tinea unguium. The responsible fungus is usually the same as that that causes athlete’s foot – a common infection of the skin of the feet, especially between the toes. In athlete’s foot the responsible fungus lives in the keratin that makes up the outer layer of the skin. When the fungus spreads to the keratin of the nails, the result is a fungal nail infection.

What causes fungal infections?

Fungi spreading from athlete’s foot (known as ‘dermatophyte fungi’) cause most fungal nail infections. Less often a nail infection is due to other types of fungi, usually yeasts (eg. Candida) and moulds which do not cause athlete’s foot. These other fungi tend to attack nails that are already damaged, as it is easier for the fungus to invade. Fungal infections of the toenails are very common (1 in 4 people can be affected at a given time), those of fingernails less so. Both are seen most often in the elderly, those with impaired immune systems, and in people with diabetes and poor peripheral circulation. Warm, moist environment helps fungi to grow and cause infection. Wearing occlusive footwear or using shower stalls, bathrooms or locker rooms can increase the risk of fungal infections.

Read more

Share with

Leave a Reply

Start typing and press Enter to search