Nail Fungus

Fungal nail infection is a fungus growing in and around your toenail.


Fungi can live on the dead tissues of the hair, nails, and outer skin layers.
Common fungal infections include:

  • Athlete’s foot

Fungal nail infections often start after a fungal infection on the feet. They occur more often in toenails than in fingernails. And they are most often seen in adults as they age.

You are at higher risk of getting a fungal nail infection if you:

  • Have minor skin or nail injuries
  • Have a deformed nail or nail disease
  • Have moist skin for a long time
  • Have immune system problems
  • Wear footwear that does not allow air to reach your feet


Symptoms include nail changes on one or more nails (usually toenails), such as:

  • Brittleness
  • Change in nail shape
  • Crumbling of the outside edges of the nail
  • Debris trapped under the nail
  • Loosening or lifting up of the nail
  • Loss of luster and shine on the nail surface
  • Thickening of the nail
  • White or yellow streaks on the side of the nail

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider will look at your nails to find out if you have a fungal infection.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The fungal nail infection is cured by the growth of new, non-infected nails. Nails grow slowly. Even if treatment is successful, it may take up to a year for a new clear nail to grow.

Fungal nail infections may be hard to treat. Medicines clear up fungus in about half of people who try them.

Even when treatment works the fungus may return.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

  • You have fungal nail infections that do not go away


Good general health and hygiene help prevent fungal infections.

  • Do not share tools used for manicures and pedicures.
  • Keep your skin clean and dry.
  • Take proper care of your nails