Fingernail Fungus Symptoms and Treatment

The basic symptom of fingernail fungus is discoloration of the nails. Although it is hard to identify a fingernail infection, once identified, there are many treatment measures available for it. Let us know more about the symptom, and the treatment measures available to deal with the problem.
HolisticZine Staff
Last Updated: Feb 14, 2018
Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, starts with appearance of a white or yellow spot under the tip of the nail. When the fungal infection spreads, it causes discoloration of the nail and edges of the nail begin to crumble. Nails are a perfect breeding ground for fungus. The part below the nails is dark and damp, which is a haven for fungal growth.
Symptoms of Fingernail Fungus
There are various symptoms of fungal infection in nails. The fungus, which is made up of microscopic organisms, eats into the keratin present in the nail and thus infects the nail. Keratin is a protective coating on the nails. When the fungus eats into keratin, there is a possibility of over-production of keratin. The common symptoms of fingernail fungus are:
Discoloration

This is the most common of fingernail fungus symptoms. The discoloration is either yellow, purple or brown in color. In some cases, the nail may also appear to be red in color. The fungus lodges itself at the tip of the nail and works its way towards the root.
Patches on the Nail

When the nail is infected, black or white patches start appearing on the nail. It is sometimes difficult to identify whether the white color in the nail is actually a fungal infection or just an indication that the nail is not attached to the skin underneath.
Starts at Nail End

About 90% of fungal nail infections start at the base of the nail and make their way upwards towards the tip of the nail. Therefore, one should keep an eye on the base of the nail to prevent the infection from spreading further.
Thickened Nails

If the nail has become thick and is causing discomfort when you cut them, it is a symptom of fingernail fungus. Thick nails at times cause pain and become tender. The nail becomes thicker because layers of fungi grow under the nail.
Itchiness

There will be an itching sensation under the nail. The itching sensation may also cause discomfort, as it is difficult to reach to the area under the nail.
Flaky Nails

Flaky, chipped and brittle nails are also a sign of fingernail fungus infection. The nails have a crumbly appearance and in some cases may also look ragged.
Smelly Nails

Fingernails affected with a fungal infection can have an odor. If your nails are smelling, it is a symptom of fingernail fungus. Fungus normally grows on moist and damp places. If your fingernails are moist all day, you are highly susceptible to fungal infection.
Bumps under the Nails

If you can see small bumps under your nails, they might have pus formation in them. Pus is also an indicator of fingernail infection.
Dull Nails

If your nails have lost their sheen and shine, then it is a possibility that the nails are infected.
Detached Nails

Detached nails are a symptom of fingernail fungus. The nail gets detached due to over-production of keratin.
Distorted Nails

The chances of nails losing their shape is very high, due to fungal infection under the nails. The distortion of the nails may also be caused due to the fact that the nails are detached from the nail bed.
Powdery Nails

The advanced stage of fingernail fungus infection is Powdery Nails. You can see yellow powder under the nail and the nail becomes very brittle.
Fingernail Fungus Treatment
As mentioned at the start of this write-up, preventing fungal infection is the best treatment for fungal nail infection. Once affected with a fungal infection, the fingernail should be treated at the earliest. Here are some fingernail fungus treatment options.
Dry Fingernail

Does it seem like treatment? I know it does not, but actually it is. If you always keep your fingernail dry, you will be less susceptible to fingernail fungus infection. While working in the kitchen or for that matter anywhere, use gloves to protect your hands from water. Take care that your hands do not become moist due to sweat.
Exposure to Sunlight

Expose your nail to direct sunlight. This is the most inexpensive of the fingernail fungus cures. The sunlight will help in killing the fungi.
No Nail Varnish

Fungus grows in dark places. With nail varnish, the area below your nail becomes all the more darker. Therefore, when you have a fingernail fungus infection, keep your hands free of nail varnish. Do not apply any kind of varnish till there is absolutely no sign of the fungal infection.
Vinegar Cure

Vinegar helps a lot in the fight against fingernail fungus infection. There are many types of remedies with vinegar as an ingredient. The easiest of them all is to put 3-4 drops of vinegar on your nails. Let it rest for some time, then you can start working again. The other remedy is to soak your hand in a solution of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, taken in equal quantities for 30-45 minutes.
Bleach

Bleach mixed in water can also be used as a remedy, though personally I will not suggest it. Bleach can burn the skin. I am sure you will not want to treat burned skin and fingernail fungus infection simultaneously.
Lavender and Olive Oil

Lavender oil and olive oil can be used individually or they can be combined together to treat the infection. It is advisable to soak your nails in these oils.
Neem

This is a plant which is commonly found in India. It has anti-bacterial and antifungal properties. Neem oil can be used on the affected part as a fingernail fungus cure.
Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is known for its antiseptic and antifungal properties. Mix tea tree oil with olive oil and apply the same over the affected nail. Leave the oil on the nail at least for 15 minutes before you wash your hands. When the oil is left on the nail, it penetrates and is able to kill the fungus.
Cut the Fingernail

To some this can seem to be a drastic treatment. But cutting a nail will expose of the skin affected with fungus. Once exposed to sunlight, the fungi won't multiply.
Doctor's Advice

If the symptoms of fingernail fungus are tough to deal with, then always consult a physician for fingernail fungus treatment. Often creams and topical medications prove to be useful for treating the condition. There is a possibility that some oral medications may be required to treat the condition. But please do not be your own physician.
With a little care and patience, the symptoms of fingernail fungus can be nipped in the bud. I reiterate that preventing fungus infection is extremely important. As a matter of fact, taking care of nails involves a simple process. All that it requires is drying them well and keeping them dry all the time. Fingernail fungus treatment can at times be a lengthy process. Hence it better be prevented.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.
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