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Fungal Nail Infection

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Illustration copyright 2000 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.nucleusinc.com

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
Current as of March 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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