A fungal nail infection is a slowly developing invasion of the nails by a fungus known as a dermatophyte, which thrives in moist conditions and digests keratin (skin).
Fungal nails often develop following athletes foot (tinea pedis), a fungal infection usually found inter-digitally between the 4th and 5th toes.
Often the big toenail is first affected. The first signs are:
ØDiscolouration in the side of the nail which slowly creeps down towards the nail base. The discolouration may be creamy-white, yellow or brown.
ØInfection may be odorous
ØThe nail may become brittle and break and crumble easily.
ØThickening of the nail
Athletes Foot is likely to respond to topical anti-fungal creams.The longer the fungus is left, the more damage is done and the more difficult they become to treat. If the fungus is caught in the early stages, an anti-fungal nail lacquer will probably be the best course of treatment.Unfortunately, there is no quick cure.Winchester Podiatry has a professional connection with the Microbiology Department at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital and can offer a quick diagnosis by taking samples of nail clippings and skin for microscopy examination and culture to determine the presence of fungal spores.