Nail fungus is a common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge. It can affect several nails but usually not all of them.
If your condition is mild and not bothering you, you may not need treatment. If your nail fungus is painful and has caused thickened nails, self-care steps and medications may help. But even if treatment is successful, nail fungus often comes back.
Nail fungus is also called onychomycosis (on-ih-koh-my-KOH-sis) and tinea unguium. When fungus infects the areas between your toes and the skin of your feet, it's called athlete's foot (tinea pedis).
Jul. 26, 2014
- Onychomycosis. The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec10/ch125/ch125c.html?qt=nail%20fungus&alt=sh. Accessed March 27, 2014.
- Goldstein AO, et al. Onychomycosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 27, 2014.
- Toenail fungus. American Podiatric Medical Association. http://www.apma.org/Learn/FootHealth.cfm?ItemNumber=1523. Accessed March 27, 2014.
- Baran R. The nail in the elderly. Clinics in Dermatology. 2011;29:54.
- Varade RS, et al. Cutaneous fungal infections in the elderly. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine. 2013;29:461.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 27, 2014.
- Gunduz T, et al. Epidemiological profile of onychomycosis in the elderly living in the nursing homes. European Geriatric Medicine. In press. Accessed March 27, 2014.
- Gupta AK, et al. Improved efficacy in onychomycosis therapy. Clinics in Dermatology. 2013;31:555.
- Westerberg DP, et al. Onychomycosis: Current trends in diagnosis and treatment. American Family Physician. 2013;88:762.
- AskMayoExpert. Fungal nail infection (onychomycosis). Rochester, Minn: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- de Berker D. Fungal nail disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 2009;360:2108.
- Lim EH, et al. Toenail onychomycosis treated with a fractional carbon-dioxide laser and topical antifungal cream. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. In press. Accessed March 31, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.