Signs of toenail fungus and how to treat it

Onychomycosis is a common problem when patients turn to dermatologists. This disease is caused by pathogenic microorganisms-fungi. Concomitant factors play an important role in the development of the disease. Let us figure out how toenail fungus manifests and how to treat this disease.

The fungus on the nails can occur alone, but most commonly, this disease occurs at the same time as the fungal disease of the skin of the feet. In the early stages of development, the disease does not cause serious discomfort, so many people do not think it is dangerous and do not rush to treatment. However, onychomycosis is not a superficial defect. If left untreated, it can cause complications.

The structure of human nails

Nails are dense keratin at the fingertips. structure:

Big toe affected by fungus
  • body. This is the actual pegboard. A healthy dish is smooth, has a moderate luster, and has a fairly high strength. The front of the plate is free, and the side is surrounded by skin ridges. The structure of the plate is layered, but usually the nails are dense and will not fall off.
  • root. This part is called the matrix and is located under the skin folds. The matrix can be seen as a white semicircular hole. Special cells are formed in the matrix-osteoblasts continue to divide, so the nail plate can grow.

Suggest! 5至2mm。 On average, the growth rate of the nail plate is 0. 5 to 2mm. At the same time, the nail plate on the hand grows faster.


First, let us figure out what nail fungus is. There are dozens of pathogens of onychomycosis. Therefore, in order to successfully treat the disease, it is very important to make a comprehensive diagnosis to identify the type of fungus and determine which antifungal drug is most effective.

An example of nail fungus

This is a description of the pathogen that most commonly causes nail fungus.


This is a group of imperfect fungi that can affect nails, hair and skin. Let us figure out what causes the appearance of toenail fungus: the reason is a decline in immunity. In other words, if fungal spores enter the tissues of a person whose immune system is functioning normally, the disease is likely not to develop.

Dermatophytes form common rhizome-mycelium mycelium during growth. The filamentous structure is separated from it, penetrates the nail plate, and destroys it.


Yeasts of the genus Candida often infect mucous membranes, but the same pathogen can cause onychomycosis. Candida fungus can be found on human skin without causing any harm.

Yeast damages nails

The main cause of toenail fungus is decreased immunity. If the disease is caused by yeast, it will not only affect the plate, but also the nail ridge. This mycelium will not form.

Suggest! Yeast most often causes onychomycosis of the hand, and only 40% of cases show yeast on the toes.


There are about four dozen molds that can infect nails. However, this pathogen is rarely the cause of onychomycosis.

Suggest! Toenail mycosis and onychomycosis caused by dermatophytes require very different treatments. Therefore, effective treatment can only be carried out after laboratory tests.

How can you be infected?

Onychomycosis is a contagious disease. Pathogens enter the human body from the external environment. Let us find out the cause of nail fungus, the cause of this disease is different. The source of infection can be:

Toe infection onychomycosis
  • A sick person. Certain types of fungi only parasitize humans, so you can only infect them from people who are sick. Toenail fungus on the feet may be infected when they are in direct contact with the patient and when using common items such as shoes and towels.
  • animal. There are several types of fungi that can affect humans and animals. People often get infected through contact with sick pets.
  • on Wednesday. Another type of fungus can multiply external organisms. Contact with soil or water may cause infection.

Therefore, you can get infected anywhere. But, of course, not every contact with a pathogen ends with the growth of fungi on the toenails. The following triggers can lead to the development of onychomycosis:

  • Age after 60;
  • diabetes;
  • Lower extremity circulatory system diseases;
  • Decreased immunity caused by chronic diseases or other factors;
  • Wear uncomfortable, breathable shoes.

Clinical picture

Let us figure out what the symptoms of nail fungus are. It must be said that it is difficult to identify toenail fungus based on external signs alone. Similar symptoms can also be observed in other diseases of the nail plate. Only after testing is it possible to reliably find that the fungus has infected the nails.

How to understand that you need to go to a dermatologist? There are traces of fungus on the nails and the patient should be instructed to see a specialist. The first signs of toenail fungus are barely obvious; few patients pay attention to them.

How does nail fungus start? The initial stage of toenail fungus does not cause physical discomfort; these changes are related to the appearance of the nail plate.
Early nail fungus appears as spots or streaks with unnatural colors. If the toenail fungus is not treated in the initial stage, the progression of the disease will begin.

Fungus can damage the nail plate on the leg

How does the neglected onychomycosis manifest? The most common symptom is a change in the thickness of the nail plate, although this symptom does not always appear. There are three options for the development of the disease:

  • Being nutritious. In this case, there is no visible change in the plate thickness.
  • Shrinking. In this case, the nutrition of the substrate is disturbed and the plate begins to thin.
  • Hypertrophy. This option is the most common. Thick nails. Moreover, on the nail plate of the thumb, the thickening is unevenly distributed. But on the remaining fingers (most commonly on the little fingers), the nail plate thickens evenly.

In addition, for toenail fungus, the symptoms depend on the form of the disease. In superficial form, please note the following changes:

  • The board becomes rough, depending on touch and vision, and gradually, the defects begin to deepen.
  • In the next period of time, it may start to break and the nail plate will collapse on the entire surface.
Distal nail fungus

In the remote form, pay attention to the following signs:

  • The delamination of the board, the delamination starts from the outer edge, at first it is almost not obvious, and then the area of delamination may increase;
  • When the fungus affects the bulge of the nail, cracks will appear on the skin and burrs will continue to form.

As the proximal form of the disease develops, the following forms should be noted:

  • The appearance of white spots is caused by the peeling off of the nail plate on the inner edge of the nail.
  • The root (matrix) is affected, so the plate is gradually displaced from the nail bed.

Is it worth covering up the fungus?

Some patients (usually girls) are very worried about the fact that their diseased nails become unattractive. Therefore, the patient is interested in how to cover up the fungus on the nail.

The doctor examines the affected area of ​​the nail

Doctors definitely do not recommend trying to use decorative varnishes or artificial linings to cover up onychomycosis. Onychomycosis itself will not disappear, so the disease will only progress. The consequences will be the most unpleasant until the nail plate is completely destroyed.

Diagnostic procedure

Before starting treatment, it is necessary to determine the type of pathogen. This cannot be determined by the occurrence of failure. Specific analysis is required. Usually, it is assigned to:

  • For microscopic examination, it is necessary to scrape or cut off the edge of the diseased nail (distal to the lesion). The material is placed in a solution that destroys keratin and then examined under a microscope. This type of analysis allows you to accurately determine whether a fungal disease is present, but cannot identify the type of pathogen in this way.
  • Conversely, bakseeding allows you to determine the type of pathogen. In order to carry out the research, the material taken is placed on a nutrient medium. A few days later, the growing crops were studied. The indication is carried out by the appearance of colonies. In addition, research has been conducted to determine the type of drugs most effective against fungal diseases.
  • Nail scratches for analysis
  • DNA diagnosis is the most advanced method to determine the type of pathogen.


You need to immediately understand the fact that it is impossible to get rid of this disease in a day or even a week. If the disease has been hidden for a long time and has entered the advanced stage, then treatment for nail fungus will have to be carried out for at least one year.

If the patient wants the fungal disease to pass, then not only long-term treatment is required, but also regular treatment. Many patients who complained of being tortured by the fungus did not continue treatment at all. Seeing that the nails began to look healthy, the patient stopped using the recommended medication. This led to the development of relapse.

Suggest! Only after laboratory tests have confirmed that there is no infection at all, treatment should be stopped. In addition, the analysis needs to be performed twice, with an interval of two weeks. Both analyses should confirm the absence of fungi.

Treatment is prescribed separately and must be comprehensive. In most cases, the following scheme is used:

Nail fungus treatment bath
  • External treatment-use external medicine on the painful area;
  • Systemic drugs (tablets) must be used in the late stage. If treatment is started in the early stage, systemic drugs should not be prescribed;
  • Fortifying drugs-vitamins (if necessary) immunomodulators;
  • Perform a medical pedicure to remove the affected area of the nail;
  • Recently, laser processing has been used, and the laser beam not only removes the affected part of the board, but also destroys the fungus.

Therefore, toenail fungus is a serious disease that requires long-term and regular treatment. It is recommended to start treatment as soon as possible, and then it will be easier to deal with this disease. Therefore, you need to understand the symptoms of onychomycosis and contact a dermatologist at the first symptoms of the disease.