Fungal nail infections are common but they normally develop over a period of time, so any immediate difference in the way your nail looks or feels may be too subtle to notice at first.

They are not usually serious but they can be unpleasant and difficult to treat. It is normally the same type of fungus that causes athlete’s foot that infects your nails.

Your nails may appear thickened and discoloured and as the infection progresses the nail can become brittle, with pieces breaking off or coming away.

If your nails are weak or damaged, if you suffer from athlete’s foot or live with someone who has a fungal nail or skin infection you may be at a higher risk of developing a fungal nail infection.

Warm moist environments such as inside your shoes help the fungi to thrive. They use long tubular structures known as hyphae to infect the nail and break down the keratin. Although the fungus needs a host such as nail or skin to grow and reproduce, the spores can lie dormant for up to a year in places such as your shoes so re-infection is common.

Fungal nail infections are contagious so can spread amongst family members or may be passed to others through contamination of shared facilities for example flooring, gym environments, shared nail files or clippers.

Read more about how to keep your toenails healthy  – here – 

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