What does nail fungus look like?

damage to the nail and skin of the legs with a fungal infection

Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is an unpleasant and insidious disease. Often people recognize the signs of the disease too late, start it. In this case, you cannot do without relatively expensive treatments and waste of free time, and catching a disease of a fungal breed is as easy as shelling pears. Also, there are types of fungal spores that are constantly present on the skin. They are waiting in the wings for the immune system to weaken to launch an attack.

So how can you protect yourself from this misfortune? How to prevent total implementation and not start the disease?

There are many methods of prevention, all of which are described in our resource, the main task is to follow the recommendations. But the problem is, you can't be 100% sure, alas.

Therefore, one of the most important in fungal prevention is the ability to recognize over time. It is important to know what it looks like in order not to miss the moment and destroy it early on.

Types of mushrooms and how to recognize them

Fungal nail infection has several classifications based on different characteristics.


  • Normotrophic: discoloration of the plate, appearance of consistency anomalies (streaks, specks);
  • Hypertrophic - deformation of the nail, along with its disproportionate thickening;
  • Atrophic fungus blocks the access of microelements from the body to the nail, as a result of which it atrophies, exfoliates and slowly dies.
  • Distal - in the end;
  • Lateral - on one or two edges;
  • Superficial - mainly in the center on the surface of the nail;
  • Proximal: at the root;
  • Total - over the entire area of the nail plate.

By location

So, now we know the main classifications and by what criteria to determine them. Let's briefly review the main types that affect human nails:

Yeast mushroom

Also known as Candida fungus. Favorable environment for dissemination:

  • High humidity;
  • Softening of the nail plate;
  • Cracks and wounds where spores can end up.

It is easy to recognize yeast by the following signs:

  • Inflammation and peeling of the cuticle with a characteristic painful sensation;
  • Loss of nail color
  • Takes on a brown or gray tint;
  • The appearance of longitudinal grooves or stripes;
  • Detachment of the plate from the bed.

Dermatophyte fungus

What does a fungus of this species look like on the hands or feet:

  • In the foci of infection, the nail takes on a yellow color;
  • Over time, detachment occurs from the nail bed in these places;
  • In some places, where the nail is not yet completely exfoliated, it takes on a dark yellow, orange tint;
  • The edge of the dish exfoliates;
  • The fungus is most often found in the lateral part, gradually approaching the center.


The most varied view, so to speak. It can be identified by the following characteristics:

  • Only the surface of the nail is affected, the fungus does not penetrate deeply;
  • The entire surface is quickly covered;
  • The appearance of furrows;
  • The color of the nail can be different - yellow, brown, green, gray, orange and more. All thanks to the abundance of subspecies of this mushroom;
  • The skin around the affected area can become inflamed.

So, summing up all the listed forms, types and classes of nail fungus, we can highlight the main signs of fungal infection:

  1. The nail has changed color. The shade can be any, due to the variety of types of infection. Compare, as it seems to you, the sore nail with the rest.
  2. The nail plate is deformed, its consistency changes, grooves and streaks appear.
  3. Around the affected area, the soft tissues become inflamed (red and painful).
  4. Often the nail plate flakes off the skin.

If you find them in yourself, we strongly advise you to go to the doctor in the near future and not start the disease.

It is not a mushroom

deformation of the nail plate with fungus

We always recommend that you contact a specialist at the first detection of the signs of the disease, but this does not mean that you should become paranoid.

Patients often confuse a fungal infection and a third-party disease. This usually occurs when only one of the symptoms of onychomycosis is present.

The fact is that the symptoms of the fungus manifest themselves in a complex way, and individual ailments may indicate a lack of trace elements in the body or a third-party disease.

  • Thinning, fogging, and weakening can indicate a lack of iron in the body;
  • For the same reason - a lack of trace elements - the appearance of spots, fragility and layering is possible. Try taking a course of vitamin complexes;
  • Detachment of the nail can talk about a group of diseases of pathogens (we have a whole article about this);
  • If your nails turn yellow, you may have liver problems.

Signs of healthy nails

healthy nails without fungal infection

You definitely don't have any fungus if your nails match the description below:

  • The nail plate is uniform and strong, without visible deformations;
  • The color has a pink tinge;
  • Adjacent soft tissues of normal skin color, free from inflammation and smudging;
  • The development of the nail proceeds at a rate of two to three millimeters per week;
  • There are no points, depressions, furrows.

What to do if you have a fungus

First of all, decide whether there will be an opportunity to visit an experienced doctor. It can be a dermatologist, a mycologist, a podiatrist. For a first examination, you can also go to a state polyclinic in order not to overpay in vain.

Remember, if you have an advanced case, you will need to prepare to spend on drugs and treatment. On a tight budget, you shouldn't be upset, there are inexpensive and effective ways to fight the fungus, but it usually takes longer than professional treatment with good medications.

Even in a completely neglected situation, there is a way out - you can remove the affected nail, and there are several methods of doing this.

Antifungal drugs

Antifungal agents with fluconazole are used to treat nail fungus caused by dermatophytes, like the one in this photo.

When infected with dermatophytes, antifungal agents with terbinafine are effective.

Antifungal agents with voriconazole are highly active against dermatophytes.

Preparations based on itraconazole cope with molds.

Fungal-like nail diseases

Sometimes a grayish tint appears on the nail with eczema. In this case, the nail plate can move away from the nail bed, which is observed with a fungus.

Outwardly, the manifestations of psoriasis are very similar to onychomycosis. With this disease, not only the color changes, but the nail plate also thickens.

On its surface, point depressions are found, the separation of the nail plate from the nail bed is noted.

But there are differences from the fungus: with psoriasis, the separate, healthy parts of the toenail are separated by a pink, yellow stripe with time.

A bluish color is acquired by the nail with a pseudomonas infection of the nail. Frequent mechanical rubbing of the nail fold causes the appearance of superficial furrows, undulation of the nail.

White spots of leukonychia, the appearance of which is associated with a metabolic disorder, can also be mistaken for a superficial white fungus with a large spot area.

Changes in the color and shape of the nail cause injury. The big toes are most at risk. The nail with a wound, as well as with a fungus, thickens and darkens.

The difference between a lesion and a fungus is that the changes during the lesion are noticeable only on the injured finger, the nails of the other fingers remain unchanged, they are not infected with the diseased finger, as in onychomycosis.

The consequence of an injury can be a partial separation of the nail from the nail bed, the formation of a cavity which, under unfavorable conditions, is quickly colonized by fungi.

The nail plate can be separated from the nail bed under the influence of light (photoonicolysis), with iron deficiency anemia, hormonal diseases. Splitting, nail loss occurs with red lichen, bullous dermatosis, nail trauma.

But you can finally make sure that the conclusion is correct and start treatment, you can only after asking for help from a dermatologist - a specialist in skin diseases or a mycologist - a doctor who treats fungal diseases.

Prevention of fungal infections

toenail fungus treatment with ointment

You can avoid foot and nail fungus by following simple precautions. Fungal spores are resistant to very high or low temperatures, retain their viability at both -60 and + 100 ° C.

In addition, the fungi can survive treatment with disinfectants used in public places.

On the beach, the fungus remains alive for a month, so it is undesirable to walk barefoot on warm sand. When visiting swimming pools, saunas, baths, gyms and gyms, it is recommended to use slippers and apply local antifungal agents - creams, paints, ointments. After visiting the pool, it is necessary to wash thoroughly.

Infection with a fungal infection in almost 65% of cases occurs in the family circle, in contact with the patient or with her personal belongings. It can be slippers, nail scissors, a towel, clothes, an ordinary bath mat, on which small flakes of skin infected with a fungus remain.

Therefore, if anyone in your family suffers from this disease, be very vigilant. After the patient has washed himself in the bathroom, he should be disinfected as thoroughly as possible by wiping with a cloth or sponge, previously soaked for an hour in a 5% chloramine solution.

Next, you need to rinse the entire surface with warm water. Even the linen used by the sick should be soaked in a 5% solution of chloramine or boiled for 25-30 minutes with detergent.

An important role in the prevention of foot and nail fungus is foot care. Horny skin, ingrown toenails, cracks - these foot problems become a breeding ground for the proliferation of bacteria.

It is necessary to remember the basic rules of daily hygiene: wash your feet and hands, apply lotions and moisturizers, essential oils, properly file your nails.

If your feet have calluses, abrasions, and the feet themselves are excessively dry or excessively sweaty, all of this contributes to the appearance of fungus. To avoid this, use creams that prevent the appearance of calluses, soften the dry skin of the feet, apply talcum powder in case of heavy sweating.

After washing, be sure to dry your feet, especially the spaces between the toes. Also, treat your feet with special antiseptics.

Wearing uncomfortable shoes will not add health to the skin of the feet and nails. To avoid:

  • wearing shoes that irritate;
  • wearing rubber shoes regularly and for a long time;
  • improperly selected shoes;
  • using someone else's shoes.

Such inconveniences can lead to corns, calluses, sweating, microcracks and wounds on the legs. In this case, an alkaline microclimate is formed, which is an ideal condition for the growth of fungi.

Take care of your shoes, dry them well after wearing them. Change your socks and tights daily, try not to get too carried away by synthetic socks.

The human body encounters many bacteria every day. But at the same time, not everyone is susceptible to infections. Infection occurs when the body is already weakened. Therefore, an important measure for the prevention of nail and foot fungus is a healthy and balanced diet.

Regular exercise is also important for maintaining health. At risk are people who spend most of the day in a sitting position, which leads to vascular disease.

The latter, in turn, disrupts blood circulation in the extremities, which leads to a decrease in the protective functions of the skin of the legs, hands and nails.