Fungi are tiny organisms you can only see through a microscope. There are many different types that can cause a nail infection. Sometimes they live on your skin and don’t make any trouble. But if you have a lot in one area, you might get infected.


Nail fungus — its formal name is onychomycosisis — is a lot like athlete’s foot. But instead of affecting the skin on the bottom of your feet or between your toes, it invades your nails.

Since fungus thrives in dark, warm places, your toenails are more likely to be affected than your fingernails. Your toes also have less blood flow than your fingers, which makes it harder for your body to pick up on and prevent an infection.

Men are more likely to get fungal infections than women. Older people or those who have a weak immune system or ongoing (chronic) health problems like diabetes are also at higher risk.

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