Fungal nail is caused by the same fungus that causes Athlete's Foot. The fungal organisms (dermatophytes) like the warm, moist, enclosed conditions associated with socks and shoes. Cutting your nails too short, damage to the nail from a bang on the foot, or tight shoes that constrict or rub the toes, can all allow the fungus to get under the nail.
The infection usually starts at the tip and side of the toenail and spreads towards the base of the nail. An early sign of infection is a change of colour, to a creamy white, yellow or even green. The nail may become thicker and crumbly and you may experience some discomfort. The nail can eventually crumble away completely.
The toenail is nature's way of protecting the tender nail bed below. Unfortunately, once a fungal infection takes hold, it is also guarded by this very same shield. Once in, fungal nail doesn't come out easily. What's more, in such an enclosed and empathetic environment, the condition can quickly spread to the other toes on the foot.
If the condition should take hold you should consult your pharmacist, GP or podiatrist who can advise on effective treatments for fungal nail infection.
Fungal nail infection can come back again, often because the original infection didn't completely clear up, or because athlete's foot has re-infected it. If it does come back you should consult your doctor and always ensure you complete the full course of medication.
Try to choose comfortable shoes, paying particular attention to the width at the toe end. If you play a sport, which makes your toenails particularly vulnerable to damage, you should consider using a protective product such as Scholl Foam Toe Protectors to cushion and protect tender areas on toes.
To help prevent the warm wet conditions in which the fungus thrives use Scholl Odour Control Foot Spray with Neutra-Activ. It has anti-fungal and antibacterial agents to destroy fungi and odour causing bacteria. Scholl Super Odour Control Insoles also absorb perspiration for all-day freshness and continue to work when footwear is not being worn.
To prevent spread (to other toes and other people), you should wash towels after each use. It is also recommended that you wear shower shoes if using communal washing facilities or spending time by the pool.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist or healthcare assistant for advice or if you have an underlying medical condition, are taking any other medication or complementary therapy, or if symptoms persist.
Also seek advice on footcare if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or suffer from diabetes or allergies