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A fungal nail infection, also known as onychomycosis, is a common condition that often starts off as a white or yellow spot beneath the tip of your toe or fingernail. As the infection progresses and spreads, the fungus can cause discolouration and thickness of the nail and. Severe cases can cause parts the nail to fall off or crumble at the edge. This can spread across several nails.
They are caused by fungi underneath the nail which develop and spread. Fungi prefer warm and moist environments, which is why fungal nail infections are more common on the feet. You can catch fungal nail infections from other people, for example in the gym, or by sharing nail cutters. People with certain medical conditions such as diabetes or psoriasis are more prone to nail infections.
You may not notice the infection at first. As it develops, you may notice the nail changing to a green or yellow colour. The nail may also thicken, making it difficult to clip your nails. After a few months, your nail can start to feel painful when you apply pressure. Severe infections can cause the nail to crumble and fall off. It is best to use a fungal nail treatment at the early signs of infection. This can prevent the infection from developing.
Fungal nail infections do not always require treatment. You should visit your GP or pharmacist if the appearance of an affected nail is bothering you or causing you pain or discomfort.
Maintaining good foot hygiene can prevent fungal nail infections and stop fungus from spreading to other nails.
The risk of developing a fungal nail infection can be prevented by: