A fungal nail infection can be both painful, uncomfortable and can be frustrating as it leaves the nail looking unattractive, leaving you feeling self-conscious of the appearance of your feet.
Read our advice and tips on how to spot the signs of infection, what can cause it, plus how to treat the infection and prevent it in future.
What is fungal nail infection?
Fungal nail infections are a common problem that can affect any nail, but most commonly affects your toe nails. As feet generally experience the environment needed for the fungi to breed and grow.
It occurs from the overgrowth of fungi under, or on the surface of the nail. Spores of a fungus make their way between your toenail and the skin underneath the nail bed and feed off the skin or the keratin in the nail. Although not usually serious, it can be unpleasant and cause the nail to become discoloured, thickened and distorted.
To give it its medical name, Distal Subungual Onychomycosis (DSO) is the most common type of fungal nail infection. DSO infects the skin under the end of the nail bed and in the nail. The nail may end up crumbling and splitting, and separate from the skin. The nail often turns yellow or brown.
Another type of fungal nail infection is White Superficial Onychomycosis (WSO). WSO can be seen in the top layer of the nail, initially forming white spots on the surface. After some time, the surface of the nail may become covered with a crumbly, chalky powder. However, the nail will not thicken and separate from the skin.
What does fungal nail look like?
- Your nails start to look dull, and lose their natural shine.
- There is discolouration around the edge of the nail.
- White or yellowish spots in the middle of the nail.
- A thickening of the nail, or it becoming brittle.
- The nail crumbling and splitting, and even separating from the skin.
- Discomfort while wearing shoes, walking, or standing for time.
It’s important to act quickly if you notice any of these symptoms, if you do not treat the infection, there is a chance it will worsen and spread to other nails.
Try Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment as an effective solution for mild fungal nail infections. Visible results within weeks and helps prevent spread of infection & recurrence.
What causes Fungal Nail Infection?
Even if you take care of your feet on a regular basis, you might still catch fungal nail infection as the funguses that cause fungal nail infection are highly contagious and grow and spread in moist, warm environments and what your feet get exposed to day to day are perfect conditions for the infection to grow. For example, walking barefoot in communal swimming pools, showers or gyms. Not keeping your feet clean and drying your toes properly, wearing shoes that cause your feet to get hot and sweaty. Also, if you have athlete’s foot, this can easily spread to the toenail and give you a fungal nail infection or even if you have a damaged toenail, this can increase the risk.
How can you prevent Fungal Nail infection?
Unfortunately it is impossible to eliminate the risk of developing fungal nail infection, but there are simple things you can do to reduce the risk of getting infected.
Wearing well-fitting shoes will allow your feet to “breathe” and reduce the possibility of warm, moist environments where the fungi can breed. Discard old shoes and change socks regularly.
Avoid walking around barefoot in public pools, showers and locker rooms. Wear protective footwear like flip-flops instead.
Regularly check your nails and ensure they are trimmed carefully & regularly. Always make sure your nail clipper is disinfected
Avoid sharing towels and socks with other people and ensuring your towels are washed regularly. If you have athlete’s foot, you should treat it as soon as possible to avoid the infection spreading to the nails.
Disinfect your shoes regularly with an antifungal shoe spray or powder.
How to cure fungal nail infections
Mild fungal nail infection can be treated with Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment which creates an unfavourable environment for fungi on infected nail beds. The Scholl Fungal Nail treatment contains hygienic disposable single use files that are used to remove the top layer of the nail, which helps ensure that the advanced formula penetrates the nail and targets the fungi. Create an inhospitable environment for the fungus, to stop it from proliferating.
Any fungal nail treatment can take a number of months to clear. This is due to the time it takes for the toenail to grow. Did you know that toenails grow around 1 – 2mm per month? So complete visble improvement to the infection will only be apparent when the damaged nail has completely grown out.
Ensure you start treating the infection when you see the early signs. With Scholl’s Fungal nail treatment, the effective treatment shows visible improvement in weeks & the easy to use treatment works in 2 phases.
Phase 1: The treatment phase that takes 4 weeks. You start with filing the nail surface once a week, disposing the used file to avoid contamination & applying the advance formula. Repeating the same steps in weeks 2,3 & 4.
Phase 2: The protection phase, you continue applying the liquid once a week for up to 9 months or when the discolouration has completely grown out.
Washing and drying your feet carefully. Always wash your hands after touching an infected nail.
Ensure you are treating any other fungal infections you may have, for example athlete’s foot.
Wear shoes that fit properly with enough room for the toes.
Keep your nails trimmed. Sterilise the tools used for pedicures by cleaning them thoroughly under hot water or using alcoholic wipes or liquid.