Some fungi are present in our body, and very often they overgrow the fingernails and/or toenails, thereby causing an infection. Scientifically known as tinea unguium, fungal nail infections are not only unsightly, but also annoying.


What causes fungal nail infections?

The most common causes of a fungal nail infection are as follows:

  • Often a fungal infection starts from the toenails and then gradually spreads to the fingernails.
  • If you’ve hurt or damaged your nail, it becomes much more vulnerable to a fungal nail infection.
  • Frequent washing of hands can make your hands moist and create conditions that are favourable for fungi to overgrow.
  • People who live in places with a humid climate are more prone to get a fungal nail infection.
  • People suffering from certain diseases are prone to get a fungal nail infection.
    These medical conditions include
    – Diabetes
    – Poor circulation
  • People who smoke are also prone to get a fungal nail infection.

How are fungal nail infections treated?

It is very important to get a correct diagnosis to receive the correct medical treatment. You can either take some tablets to treat the nail infections, use topical medications or add laser treatment.

Various antifungal tablets are available for treating these infections. These tablets generally need to be taken for a prolonged period so that the treatment can reach the nails through the bloodstream.

For patients who do not wish to take medications for such a long time, laser treatment is an alternative option. In a laser treatment, the nail is heated to kill the fungus. You need to go through several sittings at intervals of at least one month since toenails take a long time to grow out.

What tablets are used to treat nail infections?

Terbinafine and itraconazole are the two most effective tablets prescribed for treating fungal nail infections. These tablets need to be taken for many months to ensure that the infection is completely cured. If they are not taken for the prescribed duration, the infection can come back.

How effective is laser treatment?

A stubborn nail infection can be treated using a Nd:YAG laser. The laser light heats the fungus and destroys it. The biggest advantage of using laser treatment is that it works only on the affected area, and thus, there are no side effects as is the case with oral medication.

How can I prevent fungal nail infections?

  • Always keep your feet dry.
  • Always keep your nails trimmed to avoid trauma.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes.
  • Do not leave tinea untreated. Get it treated before it spreads to the nails.
  • Always wear thongs when you need to use public bathrooms, saunas and swimming pools.
  • Once you start nail treatment, sprinkle antifungal powder inside your shoes to avoid re-infection.