A fungal nail infection occurs when a fungus attacks a fingernail, toenail, or the skin under the nail. The good news is that fungal infections of the nails are relatively rare. The bad news is that they’re difficult to get rid of and can be quite painful.
There are many different types of fungi that can cause nail infections, but the most common one is called dermatophyte. This type of fungus thrives in warm, moist environments such as locker rooms, public showers, and swimming pools.
Fungal nail infections can occur in people of all ages, but they’re more common in older adults. This is because as we age, our nails become thicker and slower-growing, which makes them more susceptible to infection.
If you think you might have a fungal nail infection, it’s important to see your doctor so that the infection can be properly diagnosed and treated. In the meantime, there are some things you can do at home.
1. Thickened Or Distorted Nail
Common symptoms of a fungal nail infection may include distorted nails, an unpleasant odor, brittleness or thickness of the nails, pain or discomfort when touched, and pieces breaking off the nails. Additionally, a fungal nail infection might cause the nails to become thickened, yellowed and brittle. Redness, swelling and pain are also common signs of a fungal nail infection.
2. Discoloration Of The Nail
Common symptoms of a fungal nail infection include swelling, pain, difficulty walking, discoloured nails, brittle nails and difficulty trimming the nails. Some people may experience discomfort associated with the infection. If any of these symptoms are present it is recommended that a healthcare provider should be consulted. Self-care steps may also help reduce or prevent further damage to the affected area.
3. Brittle Or Crumbly Nail
Common symptoms of a fungal nail infection include thickening, discoloration, brittleness, misshapen, and separation of the nail from the nail bed. This type of infection is more commonly seen in toenails than in fingernails.
4. White Or Yellow Streaks In The Nail
White or yellow streaks in the nail can indicate that a person is suffering from a fungal nail infection. This condition can cause the nails to become brittle, change shape, and collapse. The nails may also lose their luster and shine, as well as become thickened.
5. White Or Yellow Spots Under The Tip Of The Nail
The presence of white or yellow spots under the tip of a nail could mean several different things. It is important to note that these spots are usually caused by moisture trapped under the nail and not a sign of a serious problem. If symptoms are present, however, bleach should be avoided as it is not an effective method for treating toenail fungus. In this case, tea tree oil may prove to be an effective home remedy for treating the fungus. If yellow nail syndrome is suspected, it would be wise to see a doctor.
6. Buildup Of Debris Under The Nail
The buildup of debris under the nail may indicate a health problem.
7. Separation Of The Nail From The Nail Bed
Common symptoms of a fungal nail infection include discoloration of the nails (yellow, green or brown), thickening, brittle or crumbling nails and separation of the nail from the nail bed. This type of separation occurs when an infection causes pus-filled pockets (abscesses) to form in between the skin and nail, weakening the seal between them. If untreated, this can eventually lead to the complete detachment of the nail from its natural bed.
8. Foul Odor Coming From The Nail
A foul odor coming from the nail is a symptom of a fungal nail infection because it indicates that the nail is infected with fungus and that there may be other signs present, such as a distorted nail, an odor, and brittle or thickened nails. The presence of an unpleasant smell can indicate the presence of an infection, which requires treatment.
9. Pain Or Discomfort In The Nail Or Surrounding Area
Common symptoms of a fungal nail infection include a painful, red, swollen area around the nail, pus-filled blisters, fever, chills, red streaks along the skin and general ill feeling. If the infection spreads to other parts of the body additional symptoms may include joint pain and muscle pain.
10. Swelling Or Redness Of The Skin Around The Nail
One of the main symptoms of a fungal nail infection is swelling or redness in the skin around the nail. This is usually accompanied by pain and can come on suddenly, which may indicate that it was caused by bacteria or fungus. If the infection spreads further, other symptoms such as fever, chills, joint pain and muscle pain may develop alongside changes in the nails such as detachment, unusual shape or color. Paronychia, which is another skin condition caused by bacteria or fungus, often worsens slowly over time.
What Are The Causes Of A Fungal Nail Infection?
1. Poor Hygiene
Poor hygiene is closely connected to fungal nail infections, as it provides a conducive environment for fungi to grow and thrive. Without proper care of the nails, such as keeping them short, dry and clean, wearing socks that breathe and avoiding picking or biting nails, one may be more vulnerable to developing a fungal nail infection. Additionally, washing hands after touching infected nails can help prevent the spread of infection.
2. Trauma To The Nail
Trauma to the nail can lead to a fungal nail infection by causing damage to the skin around the nail, which allows fungi to enter and cause an infection. Biting or picking at nails, as well as using sharp tools such as cuticle removers, can increase the risk of this type of infection. To prevent a fungal nail infection due to trauma, one should keep nails trimmed and smooth and use rubber or plastic gloves when handling them.
Sweating can increase the risk of a fungal nail infection. Wearing tight fitting shoes that make your feet hot and sweaty, not washing your feet often enough, and sharing towels can all contribute to an increased risk for nail fungus. People with diabetes, poor blood flow or weakened immune systems are at an even higher risk for developing a fungal infection in their nails.
4. Wearing Tight-Fitting Shoes
Wearing tight-fitting shoes can lead to a fungal nail infection because the fungus grows in the moist areas of the shoe, such as the ball of your foot and toe area. Additionally, if your shoes are tied too tightly, this can increase your chances of developing a fungal nail infection.
5. Nail Injuries Or Surgeries
A nail injury or surgery can lead to a fungal nail infection if the skin around the affected area is exposed to warm, moist conditions that are favourable for fungi growth. The fungi can then invade through a break in the nail plate and begin to spread underneath it. In addition, those with weakened immune systems due to conditions such as diabetes may be more prone to developing this type of infection.
Diabetes can increase the risk of developing a fungal nail infection due to its effect on blood sugar levels and circulation. Poor circulation caused by diabetes can lead to decreased oxygen levels in the toes, which can make it easier for fungi to grow and spread. Additionally, high sugar levels in the bloodstream provide an ideal environment for fungus growth. As such, those with diabetes should practice regular foot care hygiene and have their feet examined regularly by a specialist in order to reduce their risk of developing a fungal nail infection.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that causes red, itchy patches on the skin. It is more likely to occur in adults over the age of 50. Psoriasis can cause a fungal infection of the fingernails and toenails, known as onychomycosis. This condition is often caused by factors such as chronic paronychia, hyperhidrosis (with occlusive footwear), nail trauma, and using communal bathing or changing facilities. Treatment for psoriasis includes topical drugs and light therapy, while treatments for fungal nail infections include antifungal medications and removal of infected nails. To prevent a fungal infection from occurring due to psoriasis, it is important to practice good hygiene habits such as washing hands regularly and wearing open-toe shoes when possible.
8. Aging Or Weak Immune System
Aging or having a weak immune system can be contributing factors to the development of a fungal nail infection. As people get older, their blood circulation tends to diminish and their nails tend to grow slower than those of younger individuals. This can create an environment that’s more conducive for fungus growth and spread. Additionally, those with weak immune systems may not be able to fight off infections as easily, further increasing the risk of developing a fungal nail infection.
9. Moisture Trapped Between The Toes
Moisture trapped between the toes can create an ideal environment for dermatophytes, which are a type of fungus responsible for nail infections. The warm and damp conditions provided by sweat-soaked socks, shoes and trainers offer the perfect conditions for this type of fungus to grow and spread, leading to fungal nail infections. To prevent this from happening it is important to keep feet clean and dry as much as possible in order to reduce the risk of developing a fungal nail infection.
10. Swimming In Contaminated Water
Swimming in contaminated water can put one at risk for a fungal nail infection due to the presence of fungi and bacteria that can thrive in such environments. If left untreated, these infections can spread from the nail bed to other parts of the body. To reduce the risk of acquiring a fungal nail infection, it is important to wear gloves when working with chemicals or detergents and avoid swimming in contaminated water. People with diabetes or other conditions that affect their circulation should seek immediate medical care if they notice any signs of infection.
How To Spot And Diagnose A Fungal Nail Infection?
Step 1: Understand The Symptoms Of A Fungal Nail Infection
The symptoms of a fungal nail infection include thick, yellow and brittle nails, discoloration, thickening and distortion of the nails, pain or discomfort, redness and swelling around the nail, skin irritation and possible jagged edges on the nails. If left untreated it can lead to more severe consequences such as blackened nails or amputation.
Step 2: Familiarize Yourself With The Risk Factors
It is important for people to familiarize themselves with the risk factors of a fungal nail infection, as it can affect anyone regardless of age. Those who are older, have reduced blood circulation or slow nails, and those with diabetes, AIDS or other circulation problems are particularly vulnerable. Wearing shoes that make feet sweat heavily, having had athlete’s foot in the past, and walking barefoot in damp public areas also increase the risk of infection. Knowing these risks can help individuals take precautionary measures to avoid contracting a fungal nail infection.
Step 3: Look Out For Signs Of Discoloration Or Brittleness
Signs that someone may have a fungal nail infection include discoloration of the nail, brittleness and breaking of pieces off, and potential infection of the skin surrounding the nails. Additionally, difficulty walking, bleeding around the nails, swelling or pain around the nails may be indicators that someone has a fungal nail infection. If these signs are present and self-care steps have not helped to improve them, it is recommended to seek medical advice from Mayo Clinic.
Step 4: Look For Debris Or Debris Under The Nail
When diagnosing a fungal nail infection, a doctor will examine scraped nail debris and perform tests such as a KOH smear to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms. Collecting nail debris and scraping off skin can help with diagnosis. The dermatologist may also take some samples for further testing before providing the diagnosis. Patients should also ask their dermatologist about wearing nail polish while treating a fungal nail infection.
Step 5: Spot Any Changes In The Nail’s Shape Or Texture
Changes to the shape, luster, and shine of a nail may indicate a fungal infection. If these changes continue or worsen, it is important to seek professional medical care.
Step 6: Check For Any Changes In The Nail Bed
When diagnosing a fungal nail infection, it is important to check for changes in the nail bed as these can provide indicators of the presence of a fungal infection. Symptoms such as a loss of luster and shine, thickening, and changes in shape are all signs that should be looked out for in order to diagnose an infection accurately. If self-care steps have not been effective and the discoloration or misshapenness continues to worsen, it is advisable to consult with a health care provider.
Step 7: Check For Any Changes In The Surrounding Skin
It is important to check for changes in the surrounding skin when diagnosing a fungal nail infection because these changes can help identify the cause of infection. Examining the nails and skin around them is key to diagnosing nail fungus. Scraping areas proximal to the nail can reveal fungal hyphae under light microscopy, which allows for more accurate diagnosis than just examining the nails alone. Similarly, histopathological assessment of nail clippings using various staining techniques can also be used to visualise fungal hyphae more accurately.
Step 8: Check The Nail’ Color And Thickness
Changes in the color and thickness of the nail can be indicative of a fungal nail infection. If these changes are present, it is recommended that a healthcare provider is consulted for diagnosis. Physical examination of all nails, as well as the use of tools to diagnose the infection, can help speed up and increase accuracy in diagnosing a fungal nail infection.
Step 9: Keep Track Of The Review Date
It is important to keep track of the review date for fungal nail infection in order to ensure timely treatment and monitor the progress of the patient’s therapy. Keeping track of this data can also help identify any potential side effects or complications from treatment.
Step 10: Consider The Age Group Of The Person
The age group of the person is important to consider when diagnosing a fungal nail infection because elderly people, due to reduced circulation and slower nails, are more likely to get this type of infection. Additionally, other factors such as a family history of fungal infections, heavy perspiration and wearing artificial nails can also put an individual at higher risk for developing a fungal nail infection.
Step 11: Look Out For Any Changes That Occur Over Time
It is important to monitor any changes that occur over time when diagnosing a fungal nail infection in order to effectively detect and treat the condition. Early detection can help prevent further damage from occurring, as well as minimize the spread of the infection. Monitoring for changes in symptoms such as brittleness, change in shape, crumbling, debris under the nail, loosening or lifting of the nail, loss of luster and shine on the nail surface, thickening of the nail or white or yellow streaks on the side of nails can all indicate a possible infection. If these symptoms persist despite treatment or worsen or new symptoms develop – a hospital visit should be considered immediately.
What Treatments Are Available For A Fungal Nail Infection?
1. Antifungal Nail Lacquer: This is applied directly to the affected area and left on for several hours.
Antifungal nail lacquer is a treatment option for fungal infections on the nails. The treatment involves applying a 40% urea paste to the infected nails, and then covering them with plasters. This is repeated daily for two to three weeks until no further infection can be detected. After three to four weeks, it is recommended that an antifungal nail paint be applied in order to prevent re-infection of the nail over the coming months.
2. Oral Antifungal Medication: This is taken orally for several months and can help to reduce the infection.
Oral antifungal medication is effective in treating a fungal nail infection because it helps replace infected nails with healthy ones. In some cases of severe infections, physicians may elect to remove the entire nail. Keeping nails short and clean is also a simple method that can help prevent fungal nail infections from developing. However, oral antifungal medications can be expensive and may have side effects.
3. Topical Antifungal Medication: This is applied directly to the infected area and can help reduce the infection.
The purpose of topical antifungal medication is to treat fungal infections of the nails. It can be used in combination with surgery and home remedies, and has been shown to be effective in clinical trials for treating nail fungus. Topical antifungals may also provide relief from symptoms caused by fungal infections.
4. Laser Treatment: This uses an intense beam of light to kill the fungus and can be used for more severe cases.
Laser treatment is a procedure that uses a focused beam of light energy to target and destroy the fungi responsible for fungal nail infections. It penetrates the nail bed without damaging surrounding tissue, and can be used to rapidly clear up stubborn cases of fungal infection. However, due to its cost and lack of coverage by NHS, it is not widely recommended as a routine treatment yet. Early studies suggest that laser treatment may be beneficial in treating these types of infections but more research needs to be done before this can be confirmed.
5. Surgery: In some cases, the infected area may need to be surgically removed.
Surgery may be necessary to treat a fungal nail infection in order to thoroughly clean the area and give topical medications an improved chance of working. Additionally, surgical removal may be considered for severe or persistent nail infections that have not responded to other treatments.
What Is The Best Way To Prevent A Fungal Nail Infection From Occurring In The First Place?
Step 1: Make Sure Your Feet Are Clean And Dry
It is important to keep one’s feet clean and dry in order to prevent a fungal nail infection. If the feet are not regularly cleaned, dampness can accumulate in between the toes, creating an ideal breeding ground for fungus that can spread to the nails. Wearing clean socks and avoiding wearing flip flops in public showers helps reduce exposure to bacteria and other germs that can cause fungal infections. Additionally, it is beneficial to throw out old shoes as they may have become contaminated with fungus or other microorganisms over time.
Step 2: Wear Shoes And Socks That Fit Properly
Wearing shoes and socks that fit properly can help prevent fungal nail infections by keeping feet cool and dry. When shoes are worn that are too loose or too tight, the feet get hot and sweaty, providing a conducive environment for fungal growth. Additionally, sharing towels or nails clippers/scissors can cause the spread of fungus from one person to another.
Step 3: Wear Open-Toed Sandals Or Shower Shoes In Public Places
Wearing open-toed sandals or shower shoes can help prevent a fungal nail infection by allowing air to circulate around the feet, which helps keep them dry and reduces the chance of moisture build-up where fungus can thrive. Additionally, it lessens the risk of transferring fungus from one person’s shoes to another’s.
Step 4: Avoid Walking Barefoot In Areas Such As Locker Rooms And Public Pools
Walking barefoot in public pools, showers, or locker rooms can contribute to developing a fungal nail infection. This is because these environments are often damp and warm, which provide an ideal environment for the fungus that causes these infections to thrive. Therefore, it is important to avoid walking barefoot in such areas and instead wear shoes made of natural materials along with clean cotton socks. Additionally, it is important to clip the nails short so that any fungus present does not have a place to hide or grow. Treating athlete’s foot as soon as possible can also help prevent the infection from spreading further into the nails.
Step 5: Change Your Socks And Shoes Regularly
It is important for individuals to change their socks and shoes regularly to prevent fungal nail infections, as moisture can build up in footwear that does not fit properly. Moisture can create an environment that is favorable for the growth of fungus, which is why it is important to avoid wearing shoes that make your feet hot and sweaty and sharing towels with those who may have a nail fungus. It is also important not to wear other people’s shoes or share personal items such as nail clippers or scissors.
Step 6: Avoid Sharing Nail Clippers, Nail Files, And Other Personal Items
It is important to avoid sharing personal items when trying to prevent a fungal nail infection because this can lead to the spread of the infection. Sharing items like nail clippers, scissors, towels, and shoes can all contribute to the spread of a fungal nail infection. Furthermore, wearing shoes that make your feet hot and sweaty can also increase your risk of getting a fungal nail infection. Therefore, it is important to take steps such as avoiding contact with other people’s personal items in order to reduce your risk of developing a fungal nail infection.
Step 7: Do Not Trim Your Toenails Too Short
It is important not to trim one’s toenails too short, as this can cause long-term injuries. Over-trimming the nails can lead to ingrown nails and expose them to infection. Additionally, when toes are exposed too much, it can make them more vulnerable or prone to injury and bacteria build up.
Step 8: Keep Your Toenails Short And Clean
Keeping toenails short and clean can help prevent a fungal nail infection by reducing the chances of germs entering through the cuticles. Additionally, regularly changing socks or shoes can help reduce the risk of developing a fungal nail infection, as well as using antifungal powder or spray if necessary. Finally, it is important not to share towels with others if one person in the family has nails fungus.
Step 9: Keep Your Feet Free From Excess Moisture
It is important to keep feet free from excess moisture in order to prevent fungal nail infections. Excess moisture can provide an optimal environment for fungi to thrive, and thus cause a fungal infection of the nails. By keeping feet cool and dry, avoiding occlusive footwear and excessive sweating, discarding or treating infected footwear and socks, avoiding nail trauma by trimming nails short, wearing well-fitting shoes made of natural materials and clean cotton socks to keep your feet “breathing,” it is possible to reduce the risk of developing a fungal infection. Additionally, people with poorly controlled diabetes should be especially careful about this as they are at higher risk for such infections.
Step 10: Use Antifungal Foot Spray Or Powder On Your Feet
Using an antifungal foot spray or powder can help to prevent fungal nail infections by keeping feet cool and dry, avoiding occlusive footwear, and allowing for easy removal of any infected material which may be present on the feet. This can also reduce the chances of contamination from other individuals who may have a fungal nail infection.
Step 11: Keep Your Feet Dry And Cool
It is important to keep feet cool and dry in order to prevent a fungal nail infection. This can be done by wearing appropriate footwear that does not make the feet hot and sweaty, as well as avoiding public pools or gyms without wearing thongs/flip-flops. Additionally, it is important to trim nails short in order reduce the chance of infection from fungus. Furthermore, poorly controlled diabetes can increase the risk for onychomycosis, so treating it appropriately is essential. Lastly, it is important for patients to be counselled about their therapy in order to improve adherence rates and avoid sharing towels or wearing other people’s shoes.
Step 12: Avoid Wearing Tight-Fitting, Synthetic Shoes For Long Periods Of Time
It is important to avoid wearing tight-fitting, synthetic shoes for long periods of time because doing so can increase the risk of developing a fungal nail infection. Wearing well-fitting shoes made of natural materials and clean cotton socks can help keep hands and feet clean and dry, which can prevent a fungal nail infection from occurring or worsening. Additionally, clipping nails short will also reduce the risk of developing an infection as it makes it harder for fungi to find places to grow. Finally, it is important to not share towels or socks with other people and ensure your towels are regularly washed as this will reduce any potential spread of fungus.
Step 13: Check Your Feet Regularly For Any Signs Of Infection
It is important to check one’s feet regularly for any signs of infection in order to prevent a fungal nail infection from developing or worsening. Regularly inspecting the feet can help one spot early warning signs of a fungal infection, such as discoloration, flaking, thickening or brittleness of the nails. By catching an infection early on and taking the right steps towards treatment and prevention, one can ensure that their feet stay healthy and free from fungal infections.
Step 14: Consult Your Doctor If You Experience Any Signs Of A Fungal Infection
Signs of a fungal infection include a rash, fever, headache and muscle aches. Chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe headaches or neck stiffness may also indicate the presence of an infection and warrant further medical attention. Diagnosis is typically made based on examination of the nails and scrapings from the affected area. A histopathology examination or repeat test for dermatophyte cultures may be necessary to confirm the presence of fungi in some cases. To prevent further spread of infection, it is important to clean and disinfect any surfaces that might have been exposed to fungus.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Fungal Nail Infection?
People with a fungal nail infection may experience discoloration of the nails, thickening and distortion of the nails, pain or discomfort when pressure is applied to affected digits, brittle or crumbly nails that break off easily, sudden pain around the nail, redness and swelling around the nail. Treatment for a fungal nail infection may include antibiotics and antifungal creams.
What Are The Causes Of A Fungal Nail Infection?
Fungal nail infections can be caused by contact with someone else who has the infection, or by using unclean tools during a manicure. The most common fungus that causes nail fungal infections is dermatophyte, such as Candida. Other fungi that can cause nail fungal infection include Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton interdigitale, Epidermophyton floccosum, Trichophyton violaceum, Microsporum gypseum and Trichophyton tonsurans. Additionally, certain molds like neoscytalidium, scopulariopsis and aspergillus have also been known to cause these types of infections in some cases. Fungi thrive in warm and moist environments which is why they are commonly found in places like public showers or swimming pools where people may be more likely to contract them.
What Are The Risk Factors For A Fungal Nail Infection?
Risk factors for a fungal nail infection include diminished blood circulation, slow nail growth, family history of fungal infection, heavy perspiration, wearing artificial nails, wearing socks and shoes that prevent ventilation, walking barefoot in damp public places. Exercise that causes repeated minor trauma to the hyponychium (where the finger tip attaches to the nail), as well as age-related factors such as slower growing nails and poor circulation are also risk factors for fungus infections.
How Can You Prevent A Fungal Nail Infection?
Fungal nail infections occur when a fungus enters the skin through small cuts and breaks, or by traveling from an infected area such as the feet. To prevent fungal nail infections, one should keep their hands and feet clean and dry, clip their nails short, avoid walking barefoot in public places, treat any athlete’s foot that develops quickly to avoid spreading the infection to the nails, make sure any equipment used at salons is sterilized between uses, clean and dry their skin regularly to prevent infection buildup on nails and wash hands thoroughly after touching any kind of infection.
How Do You Treat A Fungal Nail Infection?
Treatment for a fungal nail infection may be necessary in some cases. Foot hygiene is essential to prevent the spread of the infection. Those who are affected by pain or discomfort, or are simply bothered by the appearance of their infected nail should speak to a doctor or pharmacist who can suggest treatments like antifungal tablets, antifungal nail paints, and softening kits. In more severe cases, laser treatment may be an option but has not been proven to work in good quality studies; however, footcare such as professional medical treatments and tablets can also prove effective in treating fungal nail infections. Statutory health insurers in Germany do not cover the cost of treating fungal nail infections so individuals have to pay for these treatments themselves.
What Are The Different Types Of Fungal Nail Infection?
Fungal nail infections are a common condition that can be caused by different types of fungi. There are four main types of fungal nail infection: Distal Subungual Onychomycosis, White Superficial Onychomycosis, Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis, and Candidal Onychomycosis. Each type may have different symptoms and appearances. Treatment typically involves antifungal creams or oral medications which can effectively treat the infection if used properly over a period of time. Prevention methods such as avoiding tight-fitting shoes and keeping the nails dry can also help reduce the risk of developing fungal nail infections.
What Are The Side Effects Of The Different Treatments For A Fungal Nail Infection?
The side effects of taking antifungal tablets, such as terbinafine or itraconazole, for a fungal nail infection can include headache, itching, diarrhea, loss of taste, and a rash. For severe fungal nail infections, professional medical foot care may be recommended. Laser treatment is available to treat fungal nail infections but this is usually an expensive option with limited evidence that it works effectively. Antifungal medication may also be prescribed for people with a fungal nail infection.
How Long Does It Take For A Fungal Infection Of Nail To Go Away?
The duration of a fungal infection of the nails depends on the severity of the infection. If caught early, a fungal infection may clear up within 6 to 12 weeks. However, more severe cases can take up to 6 months to a year to resolve.
Can A Fungal Nail Infection Come Back?
Fungal nail infections can come back if the environment that caused the infection is still present. This could be due to not completely curing the infection, continued exposure to moisture, or continued use of nail polish or artificial nails.
What Are The Complications Of A Fungal Nail Infection?
The potential complications of leaving a fungal nail infection untreated include a resurgence of the infection, permanent loss of the affected nail, discoloration of the infected nail, the spread of infection to other areas of the body and possibly even the bloodstream, development of a bacterial skin infection called cellulitis as well as other serious complications. It is important to treat fungal nail infections promptly in order to prevent these potential complications.