What is a Fungal Nail Infection?

Onychomycosis (on′i-kō-mī-kō′sis), better known as nail fungus, is a fungal infection of the nail plate. It’s one of the most common dermatological conditions in Australia1.

Nail infections can often occur due to increased use of communal change rooms at gyms or swimming pools, or via unsterilised equipment in nail salons.

Fungal nail infections are seven times more likely to occur on the toenails than on the fingernails2. The inside of a shoe, where it’s dark, warm and moist, is the perfect environment for fungi to thrive.

The infection may begin as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your nail and as it spreads, it can discolour, thicken and become crumbly.

Fungal nail infections can be embarrassing and difficult to get rid of. They are contagious and as they will not clear up on their own it is important to treat at the first sign of symptoms.

1. Nail fungal category research, Fiftyfive5 Nov, 2011
2. Eisman S et al. Fungal Nail Infection: Diagnosis and Management. British Medical Journal 2014.