What is a fungal toenail infection?
A fungal nail infection occurs when a fungus attacks the nail bed of your toes. The fungus can enter the skin around your toenails or through the opening between your toenail and the nail bed. It can take several months for the fungal infection to clear up, and up to 18 months for the nail to return to its normal appearance.1 However, in many cases, the infection just gets worse or stays the same.
What causes fungal toenail infections?
Different yeasts, moulds and fungi can cause fungal toenail infections. Most cases are from the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot.1
The fungus tends to thrive in warm, moist environments, such as public pools and locker rooms. It can easily spread from one person to another through sharing personal items, including nail clippers and shoes.
Who gets a fungal toenail infection?
Fungal toenail infections are more common in individuals with other nail problems (e.g. psoriasis or trauma), weakened immune systems (e.g. diabetes, HIV), poor blood circulation, or jobs that require heavy-duty protective footwear.1
Why do I keep getting fungal toenail infections?
Since the treatment of fungal toenail infections is a long-term process, and an extended period of time is needed for the affected toenail to grow out, it is more common for repeat infections to occur. Infected areas house fungi that cause re-infections and may lead to fungal spread to your other toenails and skin areas.1-4
Do I need treatment?
Not all cases of fungal toenail infection require drug treatment. In diagnosed cases, the fungal toenail infection will not go away without treatment.1 In fact, it may worsen and spread to other areas of your body.