What is Nail Fungal Infection? Know its Types, Causes and Treatment
Nail fungal Infection is a nail disease that is caused due to infection in the fingers and thumbs of the hands. This type of fungal infection is seen in the nails which is known as onychomycosis in medical language. In addition to the fingernails, this infection can also occur in the toenails due to which the nails become colourless, black and thick. Along with this, the nails start cracking.
Nowadays, nail fungal infection has become a common problem. The main reason for this is dirt, pollution, non-cleanliness of nails, synthetic socks and sweating in the feet for a long time, etc. However, this problem is seen in people of all ages but more often this problem is seen in the elderly, ie people above 60 years of age. If it is not treated in time, it increases day by day. As a result, it can prove to be a serious problem.
Types of Nail Fungal Infection
There are generally four types of nail fungal infections. These are as follows-
Distal Subungual Onychomycosis-
This is a common type of nail fungal infection that infects the tip of a person's nail. This breaks the front part of the nail of the infected person. Also, there is swelling in the area around the nail. Apart from this, the subungual area i.e. the underside of the nail starts thickening.
White Superficial Onychomycosis-
In this type of nail fungal infection, the top layer of the nail is affected but sometimes it starts affecting the inner layer of the nail i.e. the cornified layer. Day by day this infection keeps spreading due to which the nails become rough, fragile and crooked.
Candida infection is a serious problem. Apart from affecting the nail, it also affects the skin attached to the nail. During this, the nails separate from the fingers. Generally, this infection is more common in women than in men. Apart from this, Candida nail fungal infection is mostly found in the middle finger.
Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis-
This type of nail fungal infection is mostly seen in people who are already infected with HIV or some serious disease. Proximal subungual onychomycosis infection affects the root of the nail. In addition, proximal subungual onychomycosis can also affect the skin of the feet.
Causes of Nail fungal Infection
There are many types of fungi present in the surrounding environment. They are like microbes. These fungi grow continuously in places like air, water, soil etc. and grow continuously due to the effect of the environment whereas fungi also live in the human body which remains in the body without harming it. Some fungi are also harmful to the body. When these harmful fungi attack the body, it is difficult to eliminate them because they are able to survive in any kind of environment. These harmful fungi enter the nail through small cracks present in the nail or the skin around it that cause infection. Apart from this, there are some other causes of nail disease as well. Let's take a look at these reasons-
- Nail injury.
- Having nail surgery.
- Suffering from diabetes.
- Weakening of the immune system.
- Wearing tight shoes.
- Taking a long bath in the swimming pool.
- Walking barefoot in public places.
- Living in places with constant humidity.
Symptoms of Nail Fungal Infection
- Nail colour changing to yellow, brown, or white colour.
- Thickening of the nail layer.
- Having broken or cracked nails.
- Change or crack in the shape of the nail.
- Stiffness of nails.
- Loss of the natural shine of the nail.
- Formation of white or yellow stripes on the side of the nail.
- Nail loosening or lifting.
- A substance trapped inside the nail.
- Collection of pus in the nail.
- Feeling of tenderness or pain on touching the nail.
- Swelling around the toes.
Treatment of Nail Fungal Infection
Oral antifungal drugs-
In the traditional treatment of nail fungal infection, doctors recommend taking oral antifungal drugs in which many types of antifungal creams and some oral medicines are included. These medicines eliminate the infection rapidly. It takes at least 3-4 months to get rid of the infection completely through oral antifungal drugs.
Medicated nail polish-
Doctors recommend using a medicated nail polish to treat nail fungal infection which is called ciclopirox. Using it once a day on the infected nails and the skin around it helps to get rid of the infection.
Medicated nail cream-
Apart from medicated nail polish, doctors also suggest antifungal creams.
When the infection becomes severe and painful, doctors recommend surgery wherein, the nail is temporarily removed.
Home Remedies for Nail Fungal Infection
Tea tree oil-
The beneficial properties of tea tree oil are very effective for nail diseases as it contains antibacterial compounds. These help to prevent the spread of nail and skin-related infections. These antioxidants are effective in healing itchy and dry skin. For this, mix a few drops of tea tree oil in the carrier oil and apply it to the nail and its surrounding area.
Ajwain oil also proves effective for nail disease. The antibacterial compounds present in this oil prevent the spread of nail and skin related infections. For this, mix a few drops of ajwain oil in a carrier oil and apply it to the nail and its surrounding area.
Baking soda or alum-
In case of nail fungal infection, wash the nail and the skin around it by adding baking soda or alum in lukewarm water. By doing this, the problem of nail fungal infection gets relief.
Apple cider vinegar-
Apple cider vinegar is another effective treatment for fungal infection in nails. For this, mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in lukewarm water and let the feet or hands remain submerged in this water. After some time wipe it thoroughly with a towel. By doing this, nails and skin-related infections are relieved.
Garlic is rich in antibiotic properties. It helps in curing nail infections and fungal infections. For this, make a paste by taking some raw garlic buds and apply them to the nail and the skin around it. By doing this the wounds heal quickly. Apart from this, applying raw garlic juice on the nail also provides relief in infection.
Washing the nails by boiling neem leaves in water or grinding neem leaves in cow's milk and applying it to the infected area cures fungal infections.
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties which prevent the spread of nail infections. For this, apply aloe vera gel to the infected nail areas.
Coconut oil also proves effective in getting relief from nail infection because it has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties which help to get rid of fungal infections. For this, apply coconut oil 2-3 times a day on the infected areas of the nail.