Fungal nail infection
Diagnose & advice 2020

Published on: 24-04-2020
Fungal nail infection | Diagnose & advice 2020

If you are suffering from a fungal nail infection. Chances are you have had it for a long time, tried some home remedies or products and failed.

Treating a fungal nail infection correctly isn't easy!

On this page we will outline all do's and dont's for succesful fungal nail treatment.

Curious? Keep on reading

Everything you need to know about fungal nail infections:
  1. What causes fungal nail infection?
  2. Fungal nail symptoms
  3. General Practitioner (GP)
  4. Podiatrist
  5. NHS information
  6. Fungal nail pictures
  7. Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)
  8. The secret to succesful fungal nail treatment

What causes fungal nail infections?

How did I get this nail infection?

Fungal nail infections are very common. There are several ways your fungal nail infection could have started. Many simple precautions can be taken to prevent infections on your feet, hands and nails. These precautions, combined with good personal hygiene and being aware of the risks of fungal nail infection, will surely help in minimising (future) infections.

Even though it is very hard to determine exactly what could have caused your fungal nail infection. We will summarise some of the most common causes of fungal nail infections.

Fungal nail infections

Your own skin

The surface of your skin is covered in bacteria and fungi, some good, some bad. This should not be a problem, we need the good ones to defend us from the bad ones. But when the bad fungus starts overgrowing, you increase the risk of skin and fungal nail infections.

When the skin becomes dry and damaged these fungus spores can penetrate the skin. Once nested in the upper layer of the skin, they can start infecting and cause a foot fungus infection (also called athlete's foot), which in turn can lead to nail infections.


Shoes are the number 1 reason you are getting skin and nail infections. Sweaty socks and shoes are an ideal breeding location for fungus. It thrives in warm, moist environments.

The moment you develop foot fungus (also called athlete's foot) the fungi could penetrate easily spread into your shoes and infect the (damaged) nails, causing toenail fungus.

A disinfecting shoe spray can prevent fungi to spread and protect your skin and nails against fungal infection.

The shower

Fungi love damp and wet environments. Showers, saunas and swimming pools offer the ideal place for them to thrive. Unprotected feet are easily infected by walking on a surface that has not been cleaned properly and a fungal nail infection could be the result.

At home, clean your shower with chloride or vinegar regularly. This kills any fungi on the floor surface and prevents the spread of infection to other family members


Are you sharing towels at home? Stop doing that immediately! Towels are a great place for fungi to nest and infect your skin and nails. Use a clean towel every time and ensure to wash your towels at a minimum of 60°C. to prevent getting or spreading a fungal nail infection.

Fungal nail infection symptoms

What does fungal nail look like?

In order to prevent a large spread of the nail fungus infection (med.: onychomycosis or tinea unguium), it is particularly important that you do not hestitate to take action in order to prevent the spread of the fungal infection to other nails.

As a rule, fungal nail infection can only be diagnosed at a very late stage. At the beginning it is difficult to recognise and just as difficult to treat. But don't wait for a mild case to get worse.

But when can you be sure that it is actually fungal nail infection? Below we have a selection of pictures of nail infections. You can recognize a fungal nail infection by the following symptoms:

  1. Thickened
  2. Discoloration: white, yellow or brownish
  3. Loose nail: debris building up under the nail
  4. Brittle or crumbly
  5. Distorted in shape
  6. Bad, foul smell

Start treatment as soon as you discover a nail infection! If you are unsure your nails are infected or simply damaged, always visit your GP. He can diagnose a fungal infection safely!

Read about all treatments in our blog article: "Fungal nail treatment"

General Practitioner

Diagnose & medicine for nail fungus

Nail infections can only be properly diagnosed by harvesting a sample of the infected nails and sending it to a laboratory. There they can determine whether you are suffering from a fungus, mould or yeast infection.

After the correct diagnose has been made, your GP or specialist can advice you on which fungal nail treatment is best for your fungal nail infection.

Treatment choices are often determined by budget, medical condition and personal preference.Which treatment is best for you, is mostly subject to your treatment loyalty. Every treatment needs to be followed by the letter to be succesful.


Professional fungal nail therapy

If you have severe fungal nail infection, it is adviced to visit a podiatrist for treatment. The podiatrist can get your treatment started by cleaning and preparing the nails for topical treatment with fungal nail solution.

During your home treatment a regular visit to the podiatrist is adviced, if your budget allows this ofcourse.Treatments by a podiatrist are usually not covered by the NHS and can be very costly. Prices typically range from £30.00 - 55.00 per 30 minute treatment.

NHS Information

NHS information and tips about fungal nail

The NHS provides a wealth of information and advice to UK consumers and patients. They have very useful information on their website about fungal nail infections, diagnose and symptoms. Please find a summary of this advice below.


  • treat athlete's foot as soon as possible to avoid it spreading to nails
  • keep your feet clean and dry
  • wear clean socks every day
  • wear flip-flops in showers at the gym or pool
  • throw out or treat shoes


  • do not wear shoes that make your feet hot and sweaty
  • do not share towels
  • do not wear other people's shoes
  • do not share nail clippers or scissors

For more information, please visit the NHS website


Examples of fungal nail on toes and fingers

Example 1: picture of an infected nail
Example 2: picture of an infected nail
Example 3: picture of an infected nail
Example 4: picture of an infected nail
Example 5: picture of an infected nail
Example 6: picture of an infected nail
Example 7: picture of an infected nail
Example 8: picture of an infected nail
Example 9
Example 10
Example 11
Example 12

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Your questions, our answers

  1. How long does it take until the fungal nail is completely healed?
    The duration of treatment of nails depends very much on the severity of the infection, the stage of your nail's destruction and the chosen treatment method. Mild infections can heal completely within a few months. You can expect a year or more for more severe infections. In any case, treatment with fungal nail polish is recommended for fast recovery.

  2. Does fungal nail heal by itself over time?
    No. You won't get rid of your fungal nail infection without treatment.

  3. Which remedy works best against fungal nail?
    Scientific studies show that the best and most effective method for nail fungus so far is the treatment with a topical fungal nail solution. In addition, long-term care of nails and shoes is highly recommended.

  4. Can I cover a fungal nail with a regular nail polish?
    No! Do not use regular nail polish during the entire treatment. If you want to use nail polish during treatment, you should only use special breathable nail polish. This will prevent further nail damage.

  5. Are athlete's foot and nail fungus related?
    Yes! In most cases, fungal nail infection is a result of untreated athlete's foot (foot fungus). Therefore, treat every small form of athlete's foot directly to prevent infection of your nails. Protect yourself against athlete's foot by always keeping socks, shoes and feet clean and dry.

  6. How dangerous is nail fungus?
    You shouldn't take nail fungus lightly. Not only does it look unattractive, it can also have more serious health consequences. You should absolutely prevent the spread of the fungus to other parts of the body. The longer you delay a treatment, the more complex it becomes.

  7. What happens if I treat nails that are not affected by nail fungus?
    Basically, if you are unsure, see a doctor. This is necessary for prescription drugs anyway. Fungal nail solution, such as Protectair can be used safely at any time. Above all, they prevent reinfection too.

  8. Is fungal nail contagious?
    Fungal nail infection is very contagious and does not heal itself! If left untreated, the infection can easily spread and infect other nails or even other people! Be sure to always wear flip-flops or sandals in public places such as the swimming pool, sauna, or gym.

The secret to succesful fungail nail treatment

The reason your fungal nail doens't heal

It does not matter which treatment you chose to get rid of your nail fungus and get beautiful nails. None of these treatments work if you don't follow 1 simple rule:

To succesfully treat nail fungus, you need to prevent reinfection during treatment at all cost!

That's it? Yes! It's THAT simple.

To beat nail fungus you need to:

  • Isolate the infection
  • Chose a proven treatment method that works for you
  • Prevent reinfection at all cost
  • Treat consistently until the entire infection has grown out

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