Big toe fungus: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention

girl with toenail fungus

Currently, about 25% of the world's inhabitants suffer from mycosis. Often the disease is expressed on the legs. The nail fungus on the big toe provides a lot of unpleasant moments, depriving a person of a normal and peaceful life. Furthermore, it can spread to neighboring areas. How to cure a fungus on the big toe? Which drugs are most effective? The answers to these questions are in our article.

Reasons for the appearance

A fungus on the skin of the big toe can be picked up in public places (baths, saunas, swimming pools, water parks and other institutions where people walk without shoes). It should be noted that fungal spores often settle on people's skin, but not everyone gets infected. For infection to occur, the microorganism must enter the skin cells, take hold there and begin to multiply. This is facilitated by wounds and microcracks. We may not see them, but to the mushroom they are wide open doors.

healthy nails after fungus treatment

It is also possible to become infected if one of the family members is already sick with mycosis. This is observed if people do not follow the rules of personal hygiene, use a common towel, sleep in the same bed, have common shoes and socks.

The threat of infection with a fungus in public places is reduced if a person has a strong immune system.

Mycosis on the miniature can also appear after trying on shoes in stores or on the market, if you do it barefoot.

Other factors contributing to fungal infection:

  • Lack of foot hygiene.
  • Excessive sweating (sweat is an excellent breeding ground for fungi).
  • Flat feet.
  • Wear tight shoes.
  • Old age (over the years, blood circulation is disturbed in people, immunity weakens).
  • Performing a pedicure with tools that have not been disinfected.

Most often, the fungus first appears on the skin of the thumb, as it is more likely to develop in the soft layers of the dermis. If the disease is not treated, it goes to the nails. However, in some cases, onychomycosis is the primary disease, and already from the affected nail plate, microorganisms spread to the skin.


Microorganisms that infect the nail plate secrete enzymes that contribute to its destruction. Thus, the fungus prepares the space for its own reproduction and colony growth. Symptoms depend on the stage of the disease.

Mycosis of the skin is manifested by severe itching. This is the first sign. Then a bubble appears, filled with light exudate. The bubble bursts and a deep crack forms in its place. It is extremely painful, it even hurts a person to walk in shoes. Also, the wound continues to itch. Dry, flaky skin forms around it. The crack may heal, but it will soon reappear.

fungal toenail infection

At first, the disease does not manifest itself on the nail plate. It is possible to suspect from separate whitish spots and streaks that there is a nail fungus on the big toe. The photo above shows what the affected area looks like.

In the second stage, the nail fades (sometimes turns yellow), significantly thickens and curves. It can often grow into the skin, causing pain when walking and local inflammation.

In the third stage of onychomycosis, the nail becomes loose, it hurts to cut it. In some patients, it can flake off the skin. At this stage, the patient poses a significant threat to others, as his nail plate becomes a receptacle for fungal spores, which easily disperse onto surfaces.


Onychomycosis has three stages:

  • The first is that there is no change in the texture, changes in the tone are not visible enough - streaks, spots may appear.
  • The second - the plate turns yellowish, stops shining, an unpleasant smell comes out of the feet.
  • Third: the plate loses its consistency, loosens, exfoliates from the nail bed.

From the color of the nail, you can understand which fungus occupied it:

  • Yellowish spots indicate a dermatophytic lesion, while the changes are limited to areas in the center of the plaque and along the edges.
  • The location of the changes along the edges and peeling indicate damage from fungi of the yeast family.
  • Plaque darkening indicates lack of blood circulation in the finger and attachment of mold.


The success of toenail fungus treatment depends entirely on how long it is started. In the early stages, local remedies can help cure mycosis and only surgical therapy can help in later stages and an ingrown toenail.

application of ointment for the treatment of nail fungus


The fungus on the thumb nail is treated with paints, ointments and special drugs that are taken orally. In the initial stages, the disease can be cured within 1-2 months, in the later stages it can take six months or even a year.


The action of therapeutic paints is associated with a softening of the plate and a disinfectant result. The varnish penetrates the nail plate and destroys the fungus.

Ointments, creams and sprays

Such drugs are used for dermatomycosis and onychomycosis. They are quite effective and adverse reactions are extremely rare. It is recommended to apply these funds once or twice a day.

Oral preparations

Tablets for the treatment of big toe fungus are used in the later stages. With mycosis, only complex treatment can help. Oral preparations include tablets and capsules.

How to remove a nail

With a fungus on the big toe, removing the nail plate can give an effective result. To do this, use means that help soften the nail: plasters, ointments, creams.

Hardware pedicure

This is not a cosmetic procedure, but a medical one. Perform it in medical institutions. Hardware pedicure is performed with a special nozzle with an abrasive coating. With the help of this procedure, you can get rid of the fungus on the big toe. The photo shows the implementation of a hardware pedicure.

therapeutic manicure for fungus on the big toe

How is the procedure:

  • The affected area is disinfected.
  • Soften with special medicines.
  • Remove the outer layer with the nozzles.

The procedure is carried out very carefully, gradually removing the layers. If the healthy part of the nail is affected, this can cause the fungus to spread further.

The advantages of this method include:

  • Quick elimination of the affected parts of the nail.
  • Absence of pain.
  • Achieve good permeability for medicinal ointments and varnishes.

But this type of pedicure has drawbacks:

  • Allergic reactions can occur.
  • There is a risk of infection.


Laser technologies are much more promising than other fungal removal methods. The beam heats up precisely and destroys harmful microorganisms without touching healthy tissues.

Nail removal with a laser takes several minutes. If more than one finger is infected, the laser procedure will take longer. To remove a nail with a fungus, it may take several sessions, depending on the degree of damage. Healthy nails will only grow back after six months.


With this type of procedure, the diseased nail is completely removed. Use this method only in cases where other methods could not help get rid of the disease. Removal of the nail on the big toe can destroy the fungus only if, after the operation, the patient undergoes a complex treatment prescribed by the doctor.

The operation is contraindicated:

  • People with poor blood clotting.
  • Having infectious and other diseases in the acute stage.
  • Intolerant to anesthesia.
  • You suffer from diabetes.
  • Those with immune diseases.
  • With dilated veins and permeable capillaries.

How the operation is performed

The procedure itself is painless for the patient, as it is performed under anesthesia. The nail and surrounding skin are treated with iodine. The doctor inserts a special tool under the nail plate and isolates it from the skin. If a small area of the nail is affected, only that part is removed.

After the procedure, antibiotic medicine is applied to the wound and bandaged. The healing process takes several weeks. Requires binding. The process of growing a new nail can take several months.

Possible consequences:

  • Cutting, pain after the procedure.
  • Infection.
  • Irregular nail growth.
salt for the treatment of big toe fungi


Usually, the doctor gives personalized advice on wound care. However, there are some general tips:

  1. Bed rest after surgery for at least 1 month.
  2. An open wound must be treated regularly, new sterile dressings applied, and medications (ointments, creams) used.
  3. After the procedure, the doctor prescribes drugs (anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antifungal).


To reduce the risk of onychomycosis infection, the following recommendations should be followed:

  • Fungi can become infected in the beauty salon. This happens in case of insufficient sterilization of manicure and pedicure tools. You should visit salons that have a good reputation and a large number of positive reviews.
  • Accessories for a pedicure done at home, it is advisable to have your own and not to use strangers.
  • If your feet sweat a lot, you should sprinkle them with talcum powder or powder and dry them even after taking a bath or shower.
  • It is recommended to take vitamins that increase immunity.
  • Frequent pedicure operations thin the nail plate, break its structure, which contributes to fungal infection.
  • Nail polish remover with acetone can also damage the nail plate.
  • It is forbidden to wear someone else's shoes.
  • The towel must be personal.
  • Cracks in the feet are a risk condition for the appearance of mycosis, so they must be treated in a timely manner.

Folk remedies

Those interested in how to treat a fungus on the big toe should remember that there are traditional medicine methods that also show good results.

Most often use these recipes:

  1. Lotions based on table vinegar. Take half a glass of water, glycerin and vinegar, mix. In the resulting liquid, a gauze napkin is moistened and applied to the nails affected by the fungus for 25 minutes. The procedure should be done 2 times a day.
  2. Coffee bath. Prepare the coffee (preferably natural) so that the drink comes out strong, then wait for it to cool down a bit. The legs need to be lowered into the mixture for 25 minutes. The operation must be performed daily for 5 days.
  3. Iodine. It is a cheap drug, but it is considered a strong antiseptic. Lubricate the affected areas with a cotton swab. It is necessary to carry out the procedure for a week, then create an interval of 7 days and start the course again.
  4. Sea salt baths. Add a tablespoon of salt to a bowl of warm water and soak your feet for 20 minutes.
  5. Horseradish bandage. It is necessary to take fresh roots of horseradish, grate them on a fine grater. For a compress, a teaspoon of grated mass is enough. It is necessary to apply a bandage at night.
  6. Compress and bathe with potatoes. You need potato peels. They need to be washed and boiled, crushed. The broth in which the cleaners were cooked should be used for the bathroom. After that, the prepared puree is applied to the affected nails. Bandage. When the product has cooled, rub the internal lard on your nails.

Folk remedies take effect only in the initial stages of the disease. They can be used as prophylaxis and in complex therapy.


People suffering from foot fungus write that ointments, varnishes, sprays and any other external agents only help with ringworm in the initial stage. They are not suitable for the treatment of onychomycosis, as they are not able to kill all the spores of the fungus. Therefore, during the treatment, after a visible improvement, relapses will certainly occur.

Patients are advised not to spare shoes, stockings, tights and not to throw them away during or after therapy.

In addition, patients are advised to walk home in socks all the time to those people who have caught the fungus. Otherwise, the spores of the fungus will spread throughout the apartment.

According to those who are trying to get rid of nail fungus, this disease is very difficult to treat. The course of therapy should be long. The most effective means for oral use, but they all have a lot of adverse reactions and contraindications.

All patients are unanimous that it is better to follow preventive measures than to cure the disease.