What does toenail fungus look like?

What toenail fungus looks like, symptoms and treatmenttoenail fungusOne in three people on earth has faced such a problem as delamination and crumbling of nails, fogging of the plate - this is onychomycosis. The disease affects different age groups. Toenail fungus (photo below) spreads quickly and adapts to new conditions.

Consider in more detail the main factors of occurrence, types and methods of treatment of the fungus at home.


The causative agents of this disease are saprophytes, molds, candida and other pathogenic microorganisms.

The main types of pathogens:

  1. Epiderrnophyton floccosum. Anthropophilic fungus affecting the stratum corneum of the epidermis. After infection, pink flaky spots with characteristic fuzzy edges begin to appear on the skin. It conveys through tactile contact or through household items.
  2. Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes. These are two yeast-like fungi of the genus Trichopyton. They have a toxic effect, are able to remain in a dormant state for a long time, and after exposure to negative factors they become more active. The first signs of the disease are itching between the fingers and an unpleasant smell, later rashes and peeling appear. The color of the integument can remain unchanged.

Mycologists distinguish four types of mycosis, which can be caused by various foot fungi:

  1. The erased form is the lightest. It is characterized by a slight itch between the toes and a slight peeling of the skin. The reason is Saprophytic Candida. Its incubation period is 2 weeks. Most often, patients simply don't notice the signs of infection and are spreading the fungus. Even without treatment, the disease disappears on its own.
  2. Squamous-hyperkeratotic. The neglected form of this foot fungus can cause deep cracks and tissue damage in the leg up to the ankle. It is noteworthy that in the initial stage of the disease there are no external manifestations. The sole does not itch and does not hurt, occasionally small cracks appear;
  3. Intertriginous or interdigital is the most common. Most often, the primary lesion begins with the folds of the thumb and index finger, then spreads along the foot. Possible causes of the event: contact with an infected person (surface), injury and non-compliance with the rules of personal hygiene;
  4. Dyshidrotic or vesicular form - mycosis, which provokes the appearance of rashes and local erosions on the epidermis. It is transmitted exclusively from the patient and is rarely diagnosed on the skin of the legs. It is believed that this mushroom is more fond of the hands and palms. In the absence of adequate treatment, mycotic eczema occurs due to exposure to pathogenic microorganisms.

Over time, fungal infections progress, although this happens very slowly. Sometimes people live with fungi for decades and only begin to worry when the nail completely goes away, painful sensations appear. There are several stages in total.

  1. Initial state. The fungal infection is just beginning to destroy the nail, its color changes, the transparency disappears.
  2. The appearance of hyperkeratosis. This phenomenon, when, with mycosis, the nail begins to thicken, it becomes very dense, sometimes it grows strongly. At the end of this stage, the nail plate becomes loose, sometimes its upper layers can be simply scraped off with a finger.
  3. In the next stage, the fungal infection moves under the nail. The cuticle detaches from the nail plate and the nail fold can become red, swollen and inflamed.
  4. Running stage. The nail is atrophied, completely changes color. At this stage, the nail plate is often completely detached or destroyed.

It is advisable to suspect a nail fungus in the initial stages, in its advanced form it is difficult and long to treat, sometimes complete removal of the nail plate is required. Don't start mycosis.


Onychomycosis most often affects the toenails, less often the hands. The disease begins with the thumb and little finger (the outer edge is affected), evenly affecting all the plaques.

The main symptoms of onychomycosis will help determine a fungal infection:

  • the appearance of streaks and spots of a whitish or greenish tint under the nails;
  • clouding of the plate, change in its color (from yellow to dark brown);
  • redness and peeling of the skin around the nail;
  • the appearance of roughness on the feet and between the toes;
  • the formation of mold on the nails.

To know how to recognize the disease at the initial stage, you can see the main manifestations of nail fungus in the photo. This will allow you to at least approximately understand how the development of infection begins, and if you find similar signs, consult a doctor.

What does the mushroom in the photo look like

In any case, the initial examination of the leg is performed independently.the initial stage of nail fungus infectionIn order not to confuse the fungus with possible calluses or normal mechanical damage to the foot, we recommend that you study the photo of the nail fungus in the initial and advanced stages.

advanced stage of nail fungus infection


There are more than 50 subspecies of fungi that cause onychomycosis, so it is possible to accurately determine the type only under laboratory conditions. Preliminary diagnosis at home is possible from the second stage, when symptoms appear.

  1. It is necessary to examine the nails to determine the location of the fungal infection.
  2. The next criterion is the shape of the change in the thickness of the nail, the presence of flaking and crumbling scales.
  3. The determining factor may be the color of the foci of infection.
  4. It is necessary to assess the condition of the skin and hair at the time of onychomycosis detection: many fungi attack them first and then move to the nail plate.

In some cases, the causative agent are several types of fungal infection. Combinations of dermatophytes with yeast-like fungi or mold with candida are possible.

Treatment of nail fungus in the initial stage

fungal nail

If such a disease occurs, 3 treatment options are possible, it all depends on the stage at which the fungus is located. So this:

  • the use of local drugs;
  • the use of oral medications;
  • combined therapy.

Local medicines are represented by various ointments, gels, suspensions, emulsions and other types of external preparations. They act only on the focus of the lesion and do not penetrate the bloodstream. They are used mainly in the early stages of the development of dermatomycosis or with a small focus of infection. Treatment, as a rule, ranges from a week to several months, depending on the degree of neglect of the lesion.

  1. Oral medications are taken orally and act on the causative agent from within the body. They have side effects and affect not only the affected area, but also the body as a whole. In some cases a single application is sufficient, sometimes a course of treatment is required. They are used for severe lesions and advanced stages of fungal diseases.
  2. Combination therapy is used more often. The action of external drugs reduces the intensity of symptoms, accelerates the healing of damaged areas, and compresses act from the inside on the causative agent of the disease.

With any treatment option, the course of therapy should not be interrupted. The drug use regimen and duration are determined by the doctor. As a rule, treatment continues after the disappearance of symptoms and external manifestations of mycosis for several days (up to a week).

Paints and ointments against fungus

If the nail fungus does not start, but is at an early stage, it is worth trying to apply paints and ointments that help soften the affected area. In this case, the spores of the fungus die under the influence of the drug.

  1. The most common antifungal paints are "Terbinafin", "Amorolfin", "Cyclopirox". Following the instructions, the varnish is applied twice a week for several months, until the healthy nail completely regrows.
  2. Also widely known are: creams - "Sertaconazole", "Bifonazole", "Ketoconazole", "Terbinafine"; spray - "Terbinafin", etc. Apply to a clean and dry surface of the finger and nail area affected by the fungus. Antifungal liquid containing boric acid and resorcinol helps dry and disinfect the affected skin and nail.
  3. An antiseptic created based on iodine, accelerates the process of renewal and healing of the nail itself and the surrounding area. After applying the spray, manifestations of an allergic reaction in the form of burning, itching are possible.

For nail treatment, you should choose a type of drug. It is not recommended to alternate, change funds, such manipulations will lead to a decrease in the effectiveness of the therapeutic effect. Before starting use, be sure to read the contraindications. Pregnant women, children and people suffering from individual intolerance are prohibited from using antifungal paints for treatment.

Before applying varnish or ointment, the area of the nail affected by the fungus should be removed as much as possible using a special file provided with the medicine. After degreasing the nail with a hydroalcoholic solution, a layer of varnish is applied, which should be changed every few days. Before the procedure, you can do a foot bath with soap and soda. The paint is removed in the same way as the decoration, using organic solvents.


Nail fungus in the initial stage can be treated with home methods. Folk remedies are good helpers in the complex therapy of the disease.

toenail fungus
  1. Sea salt. This remedy is best combined with conservative treatments. Sea salt baths are a recommended preparatory procedure before applying topical products. For a small amount of hot water, you need to take a teaspoon of salt, hold the legs for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Trays of a decoction of willow branches are used 3 times a week. For cooking, collect the young shoots, finely chop, take 500 gr. raw materials and pour 2 liters of water. Boil, lower the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. After the broth has cooled, drain it and keep the legs for 20 minutes.
  3. Tea tree oil. Injured nails should be lubricated before going to bed, bandaged and left overnight. In the morning, remove the dressings, clean the horny layer of the nail and drip the tea tree oil again, but do not wrap it. It is important to continue the treatment until a healthy nail begins to grow.
  4. Vinegar baths. In 2 liters of hot water (37 degrees), dilute 5 tbsp. L. 9% vinegar. The feet must be immersed in this solution for at least half an hour. Then, clean the softened keratinized layer of the nail with a nail file and treat the affected areas on the feet and between the toes with a pumice stone. After such manipulation, it is recommended to apply an antifungal cream or solution. Perform the procedures regularly (1-2 times a day) for a month.
  5. Celandine. This plant has long been used against nail and skin diseases. It must be handled with caution due to the active "cauterizing" effect. Celandine juice, decoctions and oils based on this plant are used against the fungus.

Laser therapy

Laser therapy is one of the newest treatments for nail fungus, especially in its advanced stages. This method is an alternative to surgical removal, followed by a long recovery period. During laser treatment, healthy tissues are not touched, during the procedure the patient does not feel pain or other unpleasant sensations.

Disadvantages of laser treatment: high price, it is necessary to take breaks between procedures, they can only be performed by a qualified dermatologist. Regardless of the chosen method of therapy, it is imperative to follow all the rules of personal hygiene. Nail fungus can recur and treatment will not be effective if not done.

When treating toenail fungus, it is necessary to regularly carry out hygiene procedures, change socks often, ventilate shoes after wearing them. The same rules must be followed so that nail fungus does not recur after treatment.


Of course, it is better to prevent the fungus than to face its consequences for a long time.

How to protect yourself from fungi:

  1. At the first signs of fungus (itching, redness, peeling), it is necessary to generously lubricate the feet with salicylic ointment. It has a strong antibacterial effect and moisturizes the skin. Instead, chamois or streptocide is also suitable;
  2. Before any visit to the swimming pool, sauna, gym or other place where you need to take off your shoes, it is important to treat your feet with a protective cream.
  3. Treat your shoes regularly, wash them if possible, and dry them outdoors. It is not necessary to use special formulations for this. Most products can be cleaned from the inside with alcohol or other antibacterial solutions.

To strengthen the skin and ensure local immunity, a recipe for a prophylactic mixture based on onions is suitable. One onion is ground with two tablespoons of honey. The resulting paste is applied to the skin of the feet and palms. It is recommended to keep the mask for 30 minutes. Repeat every other day;