Causes of nail fungus, development, risk factors, signs

Beautiful and healthy nails always attract the attention of others, and in some cases are considered a guarantee of good health. Lack of vitamins and minerals can worsen the condition of nail plates, but sometimes the problem is deeper, associated with fungal infections. Nail fungus or the medical term "onychomycosis" refers to a common and dangerous disease that can completely destroy the nail plate. Why does the disease develop, what are the signs and how to get rid of nail fungus.

How it developed

Nail fungus (onychomycosis) is an infectious disease caused by a pathogenic fungus - a parasite. According to medical observations, the disease is diagnosed in 7% of the adult population. During the development of onychomycosis, pathogenic fungal pathogens affect the tissue of the nail plate, causing a violation of its structure.

The more common cause of fungal infections is parasitic fungi. Infections are more common in public places (dressing rooms, baths, saunas). The scales of fungal parasites, once attached to the skin of healthy people, penetrate the upper layers of the epidermis, initiate their active reproduction, remove waste products that poison the human body, reduce the immune defenses, and make the body resistant to various secondary infections. Pathogenic fungal spores are introduced into the nail plate layer, which begins to lose its natural color, white and yellowish spots appear. If treatment is not carried out at this stage, the plate will be deformed, followed by damage and damage to the healthy toe.

Basically, toenail fungus is the result of mycosis, in which the foot or interdigital area is damaged. In the international classification of diseases, onychomycosis falls under the code B35. 1 and is included in the category of parasitic and infectious pathology.

toenail fungal pathogens

Causes and risk factors

The etiology of the disease is based on infection of the nail with pathogenic fungi, including:

  • dermatophyte (T. rubrum, T. interdigitale);
  • yeast genus candida (C. aibicans, C. tropicalis);
  • reference (Fusaria, Alternaria).

In addition to the main causes of the disease, there are a number of predisposing factors that increase the risk of developing onychomycosis. Triggers to activate fungal infections are:

  • lack of nail care;
  • diabetes;
  • varicose veins;
  • obesity;
  • trauma;
  • wear tight shoes;
  • low quality pedicures;
  • taking strong medicine.

Particular attention in the development of the disease is given to the state of the immune system. With strong immunity, the human body will be able to withstand the pathogenic flora even after its penetration into the body, but if immunity is reduced, fungal mycelium is easily incorporated into the nail epithelium, causing inflammatory changes and dystrophy.

Nail fungus should not be considered an aesthetic problem, as the toxins secreted by the fungus can spread throughout the body and cause a number of corresponding diseases.

itching and burning in the interdigital area of ​​the feet are the first signs of a fungal infection

Clinical signs

Usually, the nail plate is smooth and even, but as the fungal infection progresses, the structure is disrupted, and its appearance deteriorates. Onychomycosis is a slow -growing disease. The first signs of the disease are noted not immediately after contact with the pathogen, but after some time, when the fungal spores penetrate the deep tissues.

Onychomycosis can be identified by the following signs:

  • itching and burning in the interdigital area;
  • small cracks in the skin on the fingers;
  • severe foot sweat;
  • periungual platinum peeling;
  • unpleasant smell;
  • redness of the skin;
  • nail thickening;
  • dull, yellowish and rough.

Pathological changes occur not only on the nails, but also on the skin of the feet, especially between the toes and feet.

In dermatology, there are three main stages of onychomycosis:

  • Normotrophic type - the disease is often unnoticed, which leads to its development. On the nails, you can see small spots or lines, lose their luster, it can change their thickness, itching and burning appear.
  • Hypertrophic onychomycosis - there is a thickening and deformation of the nails, bird's claw syndrome.
  • Atropic - destruction of nail plates, nails away from the bed. The only treatment for this form of atrophic disease is nail removal.

With deep damage to the nails, the infection penetrates the bloodstream, significantly reducing the function of the immune system, which increases the risk of other diseases.

stage of fungal development


Before treating nail fungus, you need to determine the type of pathogen. The doctor collects anamnesis, conducts an examination, prescribes tissue scraping, which will help determine the type of pathogen. If necessary, a fluorescent diagnostic will be prescribed, which consists of examining the nail using a Wood lamp.

After the examination and examination results, the patient will be given treatment.

nail examination by a dermatologist

Effective treatment for fungal nail infections

Treatment of onychomycosis is a relatively lengthy process, consisting of complex therapies. Modern dermatology provides several effective methods to get rid of onychomycosis. In practice, they often use:

  • systemic antimicrobial and antifungal drugs;
  • local antimycotics;
  • physiotherapy;
  • hardware cosmetology;
  • folk remedies;
  • surgery to remove diseased nails.

To achieve maximum therapeutic effect, in addition to the main treatment, it is important to monitor the hygiene of the feet and nails.

Pharmaceutical supplies

Modern pharmacology provides a wide variety of drugs that can cure nail fungus. They are produced by different manufacturers in different forms, and have different costs. In therapy, systemic and symptomatic action drugs are more frequently used. In the first case, these drugs have an adverse effect on pathogenic fungal pathogens, damaging their cell structure, and preventing further reproduction and spread. Symptomatic medications relieve symptoms, relieve itching, peeling, and improve the appearance of nails.

Treatment of onychomycosis can last from 3 to 6 months, and sometimes requires more than a year, while there is always a risk of re-infection.

The most effective drugs are etiotropic therapy, which consists of the use of tablets, capsules, local remedies, ointments, gels, varnishes.

In practice, antifungal pills are most often used:

  • Ketoconazole.
  • Terbinafine.
  • Fluconazole.
  • Griseofulvin.

The active components of such drugs destroy the flora of pathogenic fungi, inhibit the growth and reproduction of pathogens. They can only be prescribed by a doctor individually for each patient.

Topical preparations act as a focus of inflammation, relieve symptoms, destroy the flora of pathogenic fungi:

  • Ketoconazole cream.
  • Varnish Amorolfin.
  • Terbinafine ointment or spray.
  • Creolin is a solution for nail treatment.

If nail fungus is diagnosed, treatment with drugs is not expensive, but effective, you should pay attention to the products of domestic pharmacological companies, whose prices are several times lower than foreign drugs. At the same time, the effects of treatment are similar to expensive drugs.

In the early stages of the disease or in combination with other methods of treatment, a good effect can be obtained from keratolytic agents:

  • Bifonazole.
  • Salicylic acid.

They are produced in the form of plaster, which, after steaming, is glued to the sore nail. They must be used according to the instructions for use.

Important: Once the treatment is complete and the symptoms of the disease have disappeared, the risk of recurrence will always be there, so you need to monitor the cleanliness of your feet, use the ointment regularly to prevent recurrence of the disease.

nail fungus treatment with medications


Physiotherapy treatment of onychomycosis will speed the recovery period, improve blood circulation, and promote healthy tissue growth. Effectiveness has:

  • diathermy;
  • amplipulse therapy;
  • laser treatment;
  • paraffin application;
  • darsonvalization;
  • magnetotherapy.

Such a procedure is prescribed in a short course - up to 10 days.

Folk remedies

Traditional medicine helps traditional therapy. Various ingredients, improvised methods, essential oils are used as medicinal raw materials. Consider some effective recipes:

soda bath to get rid of nail fungus

Bath soda. Has an antimicrobial effect, destroys pathogenic fungal parasites, eliminates unpleasant odors, allows you to soften nails before removing them. To cook, you need to dilute 2 tablespoons of soda in 2 liters of warm water, stir well and keep the feet for 10 - 15 minutes.

Iodine. Strong antiseptic to destroy the flora of pathogenic fungi. You need to apply iodine solution on sore nails, without touching the skin 1 time in 2 days.

Essential oils. You can get rid of onychomycosis with lavender or tea tree essential oils. Simply apply clean oil on the nails using a cotton swab. It is recommended to perform the procedure before bedtime.

Calamus root. To prepare the remedy, you need to take 30 g of calamus root, pour boiling water, put on low heat for 5 minutes. Then leave for 1 hour, drain. The resulting broth can be used to process nail plates or take 50 ml orally, diluted 1: 1 with water. Treatment should be continued for about 2 weeks.

By using any remedy for toenail fungus, you need to make sure that there are no allergies.

Alternative medicine is not a panacea, however, as a means of prevention or in the early stages of the disease, it has a good therapeutic effect.

If the effect of conservative therapy is absent or the disease progresses, the doctor prescribes surgery to remove the nail plate. Its implementation will make it possible to reduce the intake of medications, to speed up the recovery time.


Prevention of onychomycosis consists of adhering to a number of rules that must be followed by everyone:

  • Keep your feet and nails clean on a regular basis.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle.
  • Proper and fortified nutrition.
  • Treat in a timely manner all the same diseases.

By following the basic rules, you can significantly reduce the risk of morbidity. It is important to exclude self-treatment at the first signs of the disease, only a dermatologist can tell you how to cure nail fungus quickly and get rid of all kinds of complications of the disease. If there is a patient with onychomycosis at home, his relatives should exclude all possible contact with his belongings, as there is a high risk of infecting the whole family.