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Fungal Nail Infection

Fungal nail infection

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A fungal nail infection occurs when a fungus invades a fingernail or toenail. Causes include:

  • Walking barefoot in public places.
  • Athlete's foot infection spreading to the nails.
  • Artificial nails. Moisture can collect under artificial nails, especially if they are left on for 3 months or longer. Trapped moisture will encourage the development of a fungal nail infection. The natural nail may separate from the artificial nail.

Symptoms of a fungal nail infection include cracked, yellow, discolored, streaked, thickened, or spotted nails.

Fungal nail infections do not usually get better without treatment. The infection may spread to other parts of the nail and nail bed. Early treatment may lead to a faster cure with less permanent nail damage.

  • Home treatment may help.
  • Medical treatment for fungal nail infections include:
    • Oral antifungal medicine, such as griseofulvin or itraconazole.
    • Topical application of an antifungal cream or ointment.
    • Surgical removal of the infected nail.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised August 15, 2013

Last Revised: August 15, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

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