Fungal Nails

What is it?

Fungal nail problems are caused by a spreading of a fungus under the nail plate and into the nail bed. Different types of fungus can affect the nails including dermatophytes, yeast and moulds. The fungus can infect a broken or damaged nail or may spread to the nail from a nearby fungal skin infection.

Risk Factors?

  • Having diabetes
  • Having poor circulation
  • Having problems with your immune system
  • Working in a humid or moist environment
  • Excessively sweaty feet/skin
  • Wearing enclosed footwear, with poor ventilation and doesn't absorb sweat


Fungal nail infections can be difficult to treat and can reoccur after treatment. Toenails grow quite slowly and can be a year before the nail becomes a normal appearance. Specialised topical antifungals are recommended if the infection affects the end of the nail or is superficial. These anti-fungals may not penetrate the nail plate in some people and therefore do not work in all cases. If the infection covers the majority of the nail, affects the base of the nail or is deep then oral anti-fungals may be required. These are prescribed by your GP after carefully evaluating your health status as these medications can have significant side effects.

Your podiatrist can recommend topical anti-fungals and ways to prevent re-occurrence. Podiatrists also have special tools to reduce the thickness of fungal nails so that topical medicament can be more easily absorbed as well as improving appearance and providing more comfort to the patient.