Nail fungus: detect and treat correctly

Fungal diseases are the most common diseases on the planet. We suggest considering how to treat nail fungus, what professional preparations (tablets, ointments, creams, varnishes, other medicines) and folk remedies are used for this.

Onychomycosis (also known as "dermatophytic onychomycosis" or "herpes zoster") is the most common nail infection, with one in ten people worldwide suffering from this disease. Although the disease must be treated at home, this infection is very difficult to influence externally and the infection is often accompanied by relapses and inflammation.

Nail fungus - what is it?

In medical terminology, nail fungus is called onychomycosis. The nail plate becomes infected when it comes into contact with the spores and then the rapid growth of fungal bodies begins, affecting the nail in depth and width.

This pathological condition is most often observed in the elderly. The occurrence of the disease is influenced by the following factors:

  • excessive body weight;
  • diseases of the digestive system;
  • weakening of the immune system;
  • impaired function of the thyroid gland or adrenal glands;
  • inadequate hygiene.

Experts identify several stages and forms of fungal infection.

Types and causes of toenail diseases

Nail plate diseases can be divided into three types:

  • fungal;
  • non-fungal;
  • other diseases.

Non-fungal diseases

Here are the causes of illnesses not associated with fungal infections:

  • illiterate care of the nail plate;
  • wound;
  • unbalanced diet;
  • presence of infection in the body;
  • smoke;
  • hereditary predisposition;
  • the presence of dermatological diseases such as psoriasis, eczema;
  • acute and chronic diseases of the heart and blood vessels, nervous system, endocrine diseases.
toenail fungus

Fungal diseases

Fungal problems occur due to infection with various types of fungi. This pathogen is very dangerous due to its quick and easy spread. This disease must be treated. The fungus most often affects the nail plates of the lower extremities, since the feet are the most favorable environment for the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria.

There are factors that contribute to the occurrence and development of the disease:

  • increased foot sweating;
  • poor quality shoes: stuffy and airtight, with little durability;
  • use of clothing made with synthetic materials;
  • neglect of personal hygiene;
  • visiting public places without individual shoes, e. g. baths, swimming pools, saunas, public showers.

To recognize the onset of the disease, you need to know what a healthy nail plate should look like:

  • flesh pink color;
  • the surface is smooth, without roughness;
  • has a homogeneous structure, without compaction or thinning;
  • The nails remain intact at the tips and do not separate.

If your nails do not obey at least one point, you need to see a doctor.

Fungus forms

Symptoms of the disease depend on the form of the fungus:

  • Atrophic. A gray tint appears on the nail and the plate becomes pale and dull. The nail begins to atrophy at the outer ends.
  • Hypertrophic. As a result of the active growth of skin scales, the nail plate thickens by more than 2 millimeters. Nail deformation depends on the severity of the pathology. Shade – gray or dark yellow. One of the signs of this fungus is considered to be similar to a bird's claw.
  • Normotrophic. The color of the nail with this type of fungus changes, but the shine and thickness remain the same. In the first stages, white to yellow spots appear. If the disease is not treated, they increase in size. In this case, the plate does not adhere to the nail bed.
  • Proximal. This fungus spreads to the skin fold. Possible pain in the cuticle area.
  • Total. This infection develops if treatment for other types of fungi is ignored. Accompanied by loss of color and shine, crumbling and fragility. The result is the complete destruction of the nail plate.
  • Superficial white fungus. Characterized by the formation of white spots and stripes that spread across the entire nail.
  • Distal. The lesion is accompanied by opacity, loss of color and changes in the thickness of the nail plate. After the affected area dies, the nail becomes deformed and collapses.
  • Side. There is swelling of the skin ridges, redness and thickening. Characterized by pain in the area close to the nail. When a bacterial infection sets in, a purulent process begins.

Depending on the severity of the pathology, appropriate treatment is prescribed.

Practical advice

Preventing fungus on thumbs and feet is a very important task. Immediately after getting rid of misfortune, you will find yourself in a high-risk zone, because. . . The body will be very susceptible to this type of infection for a long time.

  1. Drug treatment does not always pay off, antibiotics kill the immune system, the body becomes more susceptible to fungi and spores, try to minimize the use of these medications;
  2. Any burns and frostbite require immediate treatment, otherwise the bacteria will be reduced very quickly;
  3. Effective treatment is only half the battle, as you will need to disinfect absolutely every surface you come into contact with: bedding, floors, clothes, shoes, etc. ;
  4. Traditional treatment is good, but it does not guarantee that there will be no relapses. It is advisable to consult a doctor before starting this fight, who will carry out an analysis and tell you exactly what type of fungus you have and how to combat it;
  5. Do not treat yourself with medication;
  6. Do not try to disguise damaged nails with colored varnish - this will damage them even more and slow down regeneration;
  7. The doctor advises regularly doing foot baths with mint and chamomile, which will significantly reduce the likelihood of getting an infection;
  8. Anyone who has suffered from fungal diseases cannot be a blood donor;
  9. The fungus is very contagious, so also consult your loved ones and take them to the doctor.

Typical clinical picture

Clinical manifestations of fungal nail infections include:

  • burning and itching sensation in the skin near the affected area;
  • nail fragility;
  • swelling of the affected area;
  • active plaque detachment;
  • color changes (black, yellow, gray, green, brown shade indicates pathological process);
  • painful sensation in the place where the fungus is located;
  • nail deformation.

If treatment is ignored or inadequate therapy is observed, keratinization of the plaque and increased compaction are observed.Only a qualified specialist can diagnose a fungal infection.

Places at risk of infection

Infection can occur in moist, warm places where the fungus grows quickly. Therefore, you must be careful and follow hygiene rules in a public environment:

  • steam room;
  • shower cabin;
  • bath;
  • academy;
  • solarium;
  • public locker room;
  • beach;
  • pool.

You can get nail fungus by trying on someone else's shoes. Also, infection can occur in a beauty salon during a pedicure procedure if non-sterilized instruments are used or if the master has fungus on his hands and carries out the manipulation without gloves.

Alternative remedies to combat nail fungus

There are a large number of alternative methods for combating fungal infections. In folk medicine, popular and effective procedures that help eliminate fungus are:

  • compress;
  • foot bath;
  • lotions;
  • application of ointments of herbal products.

Effective alternative antifungal therapies are:

  1. Garlic ointment. To prepare it, mix butter with grated garlic. Apply for several hours to affected nails.
  2. Bath with sea salt. Make a hot solution and keep your feet in it for thirty minutes. After the procedure, it is recommended to apply olive oil to the nails.
  3. Footbath with decoction of calendula, celandine, horsetail or milkweed.
  4. Peppermint and salt compress. A spoonful of salt is mixed with the crushed plant and applied to the problem area for several hours.
  5. Propolis lotion. A cotton pad is moistened in the dye and applied to the affected nail.
  6. Lubricate the diseased nail plate with celandine juice.
  7. Egg and honey mixture. Honey, birch tar and sulfur are added to the egg white. Mix well and apply to nails.
  8. Ammonia compress. A spoonful of ammonia is diluted in a glass of water. The material intended for the procedure is soaked in the liquid.
  9. Apricot resin. An alcohol tincture is prepared from tree resin using the ingredients in equal parts. Using this remedy, make a compress.
  10. Coffee bath. They make strong coffee and put it in a basin. It is recommended to soak your feet in this product for twenty minutes.
  11. Tar compress. For this procedure, take birch tar.
  12. Bath made with Listerine, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.
  13. Hydrogen peroxide compress. Before use, it is recommended to do a foot bath with soda.
  14. Apply onion pulp to the painful nail.

An effective folk remedy for yeast infections is a remedy made with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. To prepare it you need the following ingredients:

  • apple cider vinegar – 250 ml;
  • sodium bicarbonate – 150 g;
  • water (hot) – 3 l.

Footbaths are made with this medicine. The peculiarity of this procedure is that the feet are first placed in a vinegar solution for twenty minutes. After a while they take a bath with soda. It is recommended to do the procedure several times a day.

  • Compresses can also be made with the following ingredients:
  • chopped horseradish (root);
  • sunflower oil and vinegar (product ratio 1: 1);
  • tea mushroom;
  • tangerine juice;
  • tea tree oil;
  • rowan puree.

It is recommended to apply these products to the affected area at night. Herbalists advise putting crushed medicinal herbs in your socks to treat foot fungus:

  • mint;
  • chamomile;
  • nettle;
  • wise.

The first signs of the disease can be overcome by soaking your feet in a solution of laundry soap. It is important to remember that alternative medicines should only be used on well-washed feet. Dead layers must always be removed with a nail file or scissors.

Other diseases

This section includes diseases that can be signs of fungal or non-fungal pathology, but in this case they are independent.


Most often, hypertrophy is inherited.

This disease is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • the nail becomes thicker;
  • lengthens up to several centimeters;
  • very long legs begin to curve, resembling a bird's claws;
  • nail color changes from yellow to dirty yellow;
  • rarely, in this condition, the nail grows into the skin located on the sides;
  • If the ingrowth is not treated, the inflammatory process begins.

To combat the disease, vitamins and physiotherapy are prescribed.If there is inflammation, rinse with hydrogen peroxide and chlorhexidine.

Traditional medicine suggests using olive oil massage. In case of significant deformations, which greatly spoil the person's appearance, they resort to cosmetic correction.


Toenail diseases, in which the nails are subject to atrophy, are often congenital in nature.

Already in a newborn baby you can see the symptoms:

  • deformation of the nail plates on one or several fingers, they are smaller in size, fragile, distorted in shape;
  • the color of the nails is whitish, cloudy;
  • the surface has flaws: roughness, microcracks;
  • absence of nails on one or more fingers;
  • the presence of membranes between the fingers;
  • deformation of fingers;
  • low rate of hair growth and also grow sparsely.

Such congenital pathologies are difficult to treat. It is recommended to take vitamins, ingest substances rich in collagen and have a balanced diet. Patients must take care of their nails and avoid injuries and contact with aggressive substances.

Peeling nails

The most common problem people face.

Here are the reasons for its appearance:

  • improper manicure, use of low-quality decorative cosmetics;
  • This problem is faced by half of women who regularly undergo the shellac procedure;
  • lack of vitamins;
  • endocrine disorders, in particular decreased thyroid function;
  • chronic illnesses that exhaust the body;
  • synthetic clothes and wrong shoes.

This problem can be eliminated through a set of measures:

  • Cosmeticsspecialized creams and oils for nails.
  • Paraffin therapyyou need to buy paraffin and melt it until it becomes liquid, but not hot. Feet must first be washed and dried well. Dip your fingers in the paraffin, let it harden and dip again. The sequence must be repeated several times until there are 3 to 5 layers of paraffin on the nails. Then you need to wrap it in plastic and put warm socks on top. Keep this compress for 30 minutes. Then the paraffin must be carefully removed and a rich cream applied to the nails.

Traditional medicine recommends sea salt massage. It needs to be dissolved in a proportion of 2 teaspoons for every 200 ml of warm water. Feet must be kept in the liquid for at least 15 minutes. Then you need to massage the skin around the nails. Afterwards, you can apply olive oil or other unrefined vegetable oil.


This word refers to the thin film that remains on the nail in the growing area. It is the bottom layer of the cuticle. It performs physiological protective functions and is not a pathology.

It has different lengths and thicknesses for different people. When getting a professional manicure, the pterygium starts to create problems. It especially interferes with coatings that harden under an ultraviolet lamp.

If a woman decides to remove it, it must be done correctly so as not toinjure the cuticle and avoid introducing dirt into the delicate layers of the epidermis:

  • soften the pterygium in water;
  • carefully remove the excess with an apricot toothpick;
  • treat the area with an antiseptic - chlorhexidine or miramistin.

To ensure that the pterygium always remains soft and easy to remove, every night before going to sleep it is necessary to treat the nail plate and cuticle with special oil from pharmacies and cosmetic stores.

Nail diseases that are not treated can cause serious consequences. Complications include suppuration, abscess, panaritium and malignant formations on the legs. For any changes in the appearance of your nails, you should consult a dermatologist.

General treatment regimen

Successful therapy will require several months of complex treatment. This includes medications for local and systemic use, diet and strengthening the immune system. Treatment of fungal diseases of toenails is carried out by the following methods:

  • systemic antifungal medications;
  • a course of physiotherapy that improves blood flow in the feet and hands;
  • the affected areas are treated with local anti-infectious agents (antifungal varnishes, ointments, gels) and the surrounding skin is covered for prevention;
  • removal of affected tissues conservatively or surgically if severe thickening or total damage is confirmed;
  • the use of medications that improve blood flow to the hands and peripheral tissues of the legs.

Taking systemic antimycotics

For reliable and effective treatment of fungal diseases, it is necessary to use systemic antifungal drugs. Its action is aimed at destroying the pathogen. Fungal spores can remain in the growth zone for a long time during the incubation period, while remaining viable, so it is very important to ensure their destruction.

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As the plaque grows, the spores rise and enter the active phase, continuing to cause the pathological process. For this reason, treatment with systemic antifungals is carried out for a long period so that a new healthy nail plate can fully grow. This will indicate that the germination zone is free of spores.

Local treatment

This is another component of complex treatment, which is carried out using systemic medications and does not replace them. Local therapy alone will not help to achieve a complete recovery, so there is no way to avoid the need to take antifungal medications in the form of tablets, solutions or capsules. This is due to the ability of spores to remain viable for a long time in destroyed tissues. Topical medications cannot penetrate these areas.

Treating onychomycosis with this method aims to treat the nail bed or fingernail with products that come in the form of a lotion, varnish, cream, ointment or spray. Recommended at this stage.

Removal of the nail plate

There are two options for this procedure - conservative and surgical. The first method is performed with keratolytic patches that can soften tissues. After using these products, you can easily and painlessly remove the affected area using a gentle scalpel or regular scissors. For conservative removal, patch options are currently used.

These products can be purchased at a pharmacy or ordered from the prescription department. Before using the composition against a fungal disease, apply an ordinary adhesive plaster to healthy areas of the skin near the affected areas to protect against the action of the keratolytic. Then, apply a 2 mm layer of the mixture and fix it with simple plaster for 2 to 3 days. Then remove, remove the rest of the product and scrape the softened tissue with a scalpel. The procedure is repeated until the entire surface of the nail is removed and only the bare bed remains.

The surgical method is considered more effective than the conservative one, as in addition to removing the affected areas, it allows the bed to be cleaned of keratinized scales, where fungal spores can continue to live and cause a relapse of the disease. Clinical studies confirm that with surgical removal the effectiveness of the treatment is significantly greater; The procedure is carried out as follows:

  1. Apply a tourniquet to the base of your finger.
  2. Treat the surface with an antiseptic (any).
  3. A local anesthetic is injected into the lateral surfaces of the finger.
  4. Tweezers are inserted under the free edge in the left or right corner.
  5. Advance the instrument to the base.
  6. The plate is separated using an eversion motion.
  7. The bed is free from accumulations of horny plaques.
  8. The nail bed is irrigated with a powdered sorbent containing an antibiotic.
  9. A sterile dressing is applied on top.

Shoe processing

The issue of disinfecting shoes during the treatment of onychomycosis is very important, as they contain fungal pathogens, which in the future will cause a relapse of the disease. To eliminate them, it is necessary to use chemical disinfectants. This cleaning procedure must be carried out at least once a week. Disinfection can be carried out using the following compositions:

  • 25% formalin solution.
  • Chlorhexidine bigluconate solution 1%.
  • Acetic acid 40%, etc.

As a preventive measure, you should regularly use special devices designed to dry shoes at home. Fungi develop in humid environments, so you shouldn't leave your shoes wet.

To eliminate the disease, you must strictly follow all the doctor's instructions. Medications must be used exactly as directed. Home remedies can help speed up the onychomycosis treatment process, but only if used as an adjuvant solution in combination with traditional drug treatment.

Possible complications

Pessimists who do not believe that onychomycosis has a cure should bear in mind that, fortunately, they are mistaken. However, if the disease is ignored or self-medicated without being sure of the correct diagnosis, problems may arise.

Possible complications include:

  • the occurrence of mycotic eczema with a large area affected by the fungus;
  • burns caused by improper use of keratolytic plaster;
  • dysfunction of the liver and gastrointestinal organs, caused by the accumulation of toxins in the body;
  • the development of an allergic reaction, also occurring due to the fact that the body is "overloaded" with harmful substances;
  • psychological problems caused by the fact that a person cannot live a normal life - for example, without hesitation, go to the bathhouse, go to the beach.

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laser treatment

This is an additional physiotherapeutic technique aimed at improving blood circulation. The procedure is carried out as part of complex therapy along with the use of antifungal drugs. Using laser alone does not help cure the disease because it only improves blood flow in the tissues. This is necessary for effective delivery of the antifungal agent to hard-to-reach cells. If you do not take systemic medications, laser therapy will not bring any therapeutic results.

Disinfection and personal hygiene

When you notice that the nail has changed color and suspect the initial form of the fungus, comparing the symptoms with the photo, it is necessary to carry out complex treatment. To effectively get rid of the fungus, you need:

  • thoroughly disinfect socks and shoes every day;
  • boil bed linen and towels;
  • Clean the bathtub well after bathing.

All wardrobe items that came into contact with the affected nails during the day should be boiled in soapy water at night. It is best to use laundry soap. Shoes should be cleaned daily with an antiseptic or a special antifungal solution.

The disease of onychomycosis of the nails is often observed in the same family due to constant contact with the causative agent of a fungal infection, as well as due to general hygiene products. If a person scratches the affected areas and then touches household objects with their hands, the fungal spores and pathogen spread to things at this time and the risk of infection increases.