What does fungus look like on toenails and between fingers: how to identify fungus in the early stage

Of all the fungal diseases, mycoses (fungal lesions) of the skin of the feet are the most common. They are also called ringworm or athlete's foot. About 30% of the population has problems with fungal diseases. Almost half of the patients never go to the doctor with them, spreading the fungus among their loved ones. Microscopic pathogens affect the dermis (skin) or nails. In the latter case we speak of onychomycosis.

Why are the feet most commonly affected?

Various fungi are always present on the skin. Their reproduction is held back by beneficial bacteria and skin secrets. In case of violations in the work of immunity, changes in the composition of the skin microflora, a favorable moment arises for the fungi - they can multiply freely. Entrance gates for infection can act as regular damage:

  • scratches;
  • cracks;
  • rubbing.

Another cause of mycosis is endocrine disorders. In case of malfunctions in the work of the endocrine glands, not only the balance of hormones changes, but also the work of the whole organism. Including, the composition of the skin secrets changes, as a result of which they lose their bactericidal properties. Mushrooms can feed on them, which also promotes reproduction.

Other factors also contribute to the weakening of the protective forces:

  • food depletion (malnutrition);
  • avitaminosis;
  • excessive physical and psycho-emotional stress;
  • concussions;
  • regular stress.

All of these are non-specific causes of fungal skin lesions. Because of them, mycosis of the feet, smooth skin on the body or mucous membranes can develop.

In addition, there are special types of fungi (genus Trichophyton or Microsporum) - pathogens (pathogens). In contact with the skin or on its surface, they cause disease. In the case of the feet, the disease is called rubromycosis. On the body, these pathogens form specific spots - lichen. You can get infected from a person or an animal.

The skin of the feet is a special place for fungi. There are always a lot of keratinized cells. Microbes are used as housing and food. The "rampant" mushroom contributes to sweating of the feet. In closed shoes, a moist and nutrient-rich environment forms on the feet, the "dream" of every mushroom. If a person neglects foot hygiene, does not dry and disinfect shoes, the infection first multiplies and then passes to the feet of the "owner". Poor hygiene products, dryness, synthetic socks also contribute to the spread of a fungal infection.

Signs of a fungus, evident visually

Treatment of dermatomycosis is easier the earlier the disease is diagnosed. In advanced cases, the therapy is long-term, involving the taking of pills and the use of external agents. In the initial stages of mycosis, you can do without ointments. It is important to be able to recognize the first symptoms of the fungus in order to consult a doctor in time.

The appearance of the fungus depends on the form of the mycosis. Fungal foot infection can occur in 3 different variants, as well as in a mixed form, when there are signs of three main varieties on the legs at the same time.

Intertriginous form

toe fungus symptoms

A type of tinea pedis that primarily affects the skin between the toes. The first symptom of the disease is the appearance of a painful lesion between the 3rd and 4th or 4th and 5th circles of the foot. The damage is small, but causes inconvenience when washing feet and walking.

If you carefully examine the wound, a whitish fringe is noticeable around it (example in the photo). This is what the edges of the skin look like around the crack that has peeled off. The wound may itch, ooze, increase, or vice versa: periodically heal, then reappear.

In some cases, the fissure heals, but the skin continues to shed, hyperkeratosis develops (thickening of the dermis), corns and calluses appear. With advanced intertriginous form, the cracks become larger (example in the photo), appear between the other toes, the skin is constantly wet. It is difficult for the patient to move, wear shoes.

leftover fungus on feet

As this form progresses, the crack increases in size. Similar signs appear on the second foot. Thick, large layers of skin exfoliate around the wound. The second (attached) extremity is not pushed back, and attempts to remove the keratinized part with your fingers end in further damage to the foot.

This type of foot fungus is the most common. The manifestation of pathology at first is not accompanied by any symptoms. As a rule, the infection develops between the 3rd and 4th toes and does not change the color and texture of the skin up to a certain point. Subsequently, wet cracks and layers of skin appear.

The foot itself remains unharmed, however, if the fungus is affected, the feet may sweat more than usual. Therapy of the fungus of the intertriginous form is characterized by medium complexity.

dyshidrotic form

fungus on the skin of the feet

With this form, the first signs of a fungus on the skin are blisters on the arch of the foot. Most often - near the heel. The surface becomes dry, deep seals appear on it (they feel like nodules). Subsequently, they noticeably rise above the skin plane, as they are filled with liquid. Vesicles (vesicles) are usually small - 2 to 5 mm in diameter. They can merge, forming larger ones - bubbles. Other symptoms include pain and itching around the rash.

The progress of the dyshidrotic form of mycosis is manifested by the bursting of blisters. In their place, small or large erosions form. They often get infected with bacteria and start to boil. Erosions do not heal for long, making walking painful. In some cases, erosion disappears, and dryness appears in their place.

scaly shape

foot fungus symptoms

As the disease progresses, severe hyperkeratosis on the feet develops. The size and number of cracks increases. The older ones can bleed. Such damage is the route for the invasion of other pathogenic microbes into the body. Therefore, wounds periodically become inflamed, they can abscess. The most common form of foot fungus is manifested by increased dryness of the skin in the plantar part of the limb. It may mean a recent accession of the fungus, or vice versa, be the result of the development of other forms.

On the arch of the foot and in the center, the dermis becomes dry, thin, shiny, covered with a network of furrows. In the area of \u200b\u200bthe fingers and heels, hyperkeratosis is observed - rapid keratinization, in which dead particles do not have time to exfoliate. Corns or calluses form on the forefoot. There are small cracks on the heels. The entire surface is rough due to pronounced peeling. The patient may feel itchy. With prolonged development of mycosis, this symptom is absent.

You can determine the fungus on the legs by excessive dryness, unpleasant odor, itching and constant peeling of the skin.


Onychomycosis is a type of foot (or palm) fungus, affecting the skin appendages - the nails. Toenail fungus can be caused by the same pathogens that cause skin fungal infections. Get infected with mold and other types of mono fungi in the manicure room, on the beach, when trying on new shoes with bare feet, when going to the sauna or swimming pool. An ingrown toenail can be a contributing factor. The thumb is most commonly affected.

When it hits the nail plate, the fungus begins to divide. Penetrates deep into the nail, spreads over its area. The first signs by which it is possible to determine the fungus in the nails are the loss of shine, the appearance of spots (white, yellow, brown, greenish), a change in the shape of the nail plate.

As the disease progresses, the structure of the nail changes in the discoloration zone (it thickens, becomes uneven, loose).

Fungus running on toenails looks like a thick yellow growth. It is difficult to take care of affected nails. Before each cut, you need to take hot foot baths. After contact with water, nails become softer and easier to remove with manicure tools.

If the nail fungus is not treated, onycholysis begins - the plate completely or partially exfoliates. After removing its remnants, the nail does not always grow back. Sometimes the peeling process ends with complete nail loss.

General principles of treatment

shoe fungus treatment

The fungus on the feet is treated with special ointments, creams, solutions, varnishes. In parallel, the patient is prescribed antifungal tablets.

Thorough foot hygiene, weekly trimming and sawing of the damaged part are shown for the entire duration of the treatment. Every day, the patient needs to remove the keratinized cell layer from the surface of the feet, using a pedicure file.

It is also important to carefully care for your shoes - treat them with antifungal drugs or disinfectants. Shoes are dried and aired daily in the fresh air.

External means

Only an ointment or cream is prescribed in the initial stages of foot fungus. For treatment, a cream and other medications are prescribed. They are applied to the skin 1-2 times a day, after having thoroughly washed the feet with simple soap. Before using creams, it is important to dry your feet completely. Do not apply medications to wet skin. After the treatment, the patient should wear cotton socks.


It is impossible to treat the fungus with pills alone. All drugs negatively affect the functioning of the liver and kidneys, have a number of contraindications. Before prescribing a course of antifungal tablets, the specialist will recommend taking a general and biochemical blood test, which can be used to assess the condition of vital organs.

Get ready for the nails

Useful in the treatment of onychomycosis and foot mycosis. In the first case they are used to eliminate the affected part of the nail, in the second to prevent nail fungus infection.

It is more convenient to be treated with varnishes - they are applied to the nails 1-2 times a week. The most affordable medicines for nail fungus are solutions, they are applied to the nails 2 times a day until complete recovery. Special gels are popular. They visually improve the condition of the affected nails, along the way they stop the reproduction of the fungus. Ointments are also prescribed for onychomycosis. They are applied in a thick layer on the affected plaques, covered with a bandage, and kept in this way until the product is completely absorbed. The treatment is repeated twice a day.

Preventing foot fungus is much easier than curing it. To do this, you need to lead a healthy lifestyle, take your own slippers to the pool and sauna, wash and air your shoes regularly, wear natural fabric socks and use anti-perspiration products. With regular visits to "wet" establishments, you should use antifungal creams as a prophylaxis - treat the skin of the feet 1-2 times a week.