Onychomycosis is an infection of the toenail or fingernails.
The infection is caused by a fungus. It can spread to humans from direct contact. This type of fungus lives in warm, moist places such as showers.
Things that increase the risk of onychomycosis include:
Onychomycosis may cause:
- Thickened nail that is difficult to cut
- Brittle or ragged nail
- Discolored or unsightly nail
- Pain in the nail with normal use
It may happen in one or more of the nails.
The doctor will ask about and past health. A physical exam will be done. A piece of the nail may be removed for testing. Results make take several weeks.
Onychomycosis can be hard to treat. It may return after treatment. Treatment options include:
- Antifungal medicine—may be pills or creams and lotions applied to the area
- Surgery—nail may need to be removed for severe infections
Nails grow slowly. It can take up to a year to clear the nail.
Steps that may lower the chance of onychomycosis:
- Keep feet clean. Dry them completely after washing.
- Keep hands dry. Wear rubber gloves when cleaning.
- Keep nails short and clean. Trim them straight across.
- Do not trim or pick at the skin near nails.
- Do not wear shoes that are too tight.
- Wear cotton socks that can pull moisture away from skin. Change socks if they are damp.
- Use footwear when walking around swimming pools, locker rooms, and other public places.
- Avoid artificial nails. They can trap moisture.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Monica Zangwill, MD, MPH
- Review Date: 11/2019 -
- Update Date: 11/05/2019 -