ZocdocAnswersWhat does nail fungus look like?

Question

What does nail fungus look like?

I think I have fungus on my feet. There is yellowish stuff around my the toenails on both of my feet. Is this a foot fungus? How do you clear something like this up?

Answer

This certainly could be foot fungus. Fungus can infect the skin of the feet (around the nails, between the toes, etc) or it can infect the nails themselves. In the former case, this is called athlete's foot, and it is characterized by itching, cracking, and redness of the involved skin. There is often an odor that can be quite unpleasant. In the case of the latter, nail infections are characterized by gradual thickening and "bumpiness" of the nails, which also tend to turn opaque and yellow in color. Athlete's foot is relatively easy to clear up. Paying good attention to skin hygiene (clean shoes, clean socks) is important. Applying a standard over the counter anti fungal cream is also important, and you should be able to find one at any pharmacy or supermarket. Nail infections, on the other hand, are much more difficult to get rid of. They typically do not respond to anti fungal creams, because the fungus lives so deep inside the nail that the cream cannot penetrate. Most cases of nail fungus will require seeing your doctor, who can prescribe a strong oral anti fungal medication which will improve your chances of clearing up the problem. Again, start by talking with your doctor!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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