Fungal nail infections are common. They're not serious but they can take a long time to treat.
Fungal nail infections usually affect your toenails, but you can get them on your fingernails, too.
If you have diabetes, you should see a foot specialist because any foot injury can lead to complications of diabetes.
Speak to a pharmacist if the look of your nail bothers you or it's painful.
They may suggest:
The infection is cured when you see healthy nail growing back at the base.
Your GP can prescribe antifungal tablets. You'll need to take these every day for up to 6 months.
Tablets can have side effects, including:
You cannot take antifungal tablets if you're pregnant or have certain conditions. They can damage your liver.
Badly infected nails sometimes need to be removed. It's a small procedure done while the area is numbed (under local anaesthetic).
Laser treatment uses laser to destroy the fungus.
You'll have to pay for it as it's not covered by the NHS. It can be expensive.
There's little evidence to show it's a long-term cure as most studies only follow patients for 3 months.
Fungal nail infections develop when your feet are constantly warm and damp.
You're more likely to get an infection if you wear trainers for a long time and have hot, sweaty feet.
To prevent fungal nail infections:
Page last reviewed: Sat Dec 2020 Next review due: Sat Dec 2020