What does nail fungus look like on the legs and arms?

Onychomycosis is an insidious disease, since many people do not recognize the first symptoms and turn to specialists when the disease is actively progressing. At this stage, it is impossible not to notice the signs, the nails begin to collapse, flake off, the inflammation spreads to the skin, the areas located nearby become inflamed. To take timely action, you need to know what toenail fungus looks like.

Almost two thirds of the world's population has to face the manifestations of a fungal infection. Onychomycosis or nail damage is not only an aesthetic problem; in the later stages, the disease begins to cause physical discomfort.

It is difficult to treat onychomycosis, this disease responds better to treatment if you start taking action in the early stages. And for this you need to know what the nails affected by the fungus look like.

Description of the disease

A fungal disease that affects the nails is called onychomycosis. The fungus penetrates deep into the plate and destroys keratin - the basis of the nail plate. Fungal spores enter the intercellular space and begin to multiply rapidly.nail fungusIf the infection is not treated, then the disease affects the nails, and in the absence of adequate therapy, it spreads to nearby skin areas.


Fungal spores are present in the environment. They are very resistant to external influences, spores do not die even at sub-zero temperatures. But nevertheless, active reproduction of fungi is possible only in a warm and humid environment, therefore, people are at greatest risk when visiting public baths, swimming pools, gyms.

If among the visitors there is a person infected with onychomycosis, then on the things with which he was in contact, fungal spores remain, which remain active for a long time. And these spores affect the skin and nails of healthy people. To "catch" an infection, it is enough to walk barefoot on the floor, on which there are fungal spores.

toenail fungus

Advice! Wooden surfaces are especially dangerous - floors, grilles in showers, benches. The fact is that the tree has a porous structure, and even thorough disinfection is not able to destroy the spores of pathogenic microorganisms.

But, of course, not every "meeting" with fungi ends with a disease. In most cases, the body's immune system successfully fights off the infection. But if the body is weakened or the person does not observe basic hygiene measures, then the likelihood of developing onychomycosis increases.

Factors contributing to the development of the disease

In order for the fungus to begin its licensing activity, certain conditions must be met. Most often, the elderly are susceptible to the disease, they have a weakened immune system, therefore, onychomycosis in older people is observed more often than in young people. Risk factors:

  • non-observance of hygiene rules, wearing too tight shoes, clothes and shoes made of synthetic materials;
  • the presence of any damage to the skin, even a small scratch, is the "gateway" for infection;
  • removal of part of the nail with fungus
  • endocrine system pathology;
  • chronic diseases that weaken the immune system;
  • long-term use of drugs, especially hormones, cytostatics and antibiotics.

Advice! You can get infected with onychomycosis in a beauty salon by doing a manicure or pedicure. If the master does not pay due attention to the sterilization of instruments, then files from a cutter can become a source of infection.

Causative agents of the disease

To date, about fifty varieties of fungi have been identified that can cause onychomycosis. For this reason, you should not self-medicate. Drugs that are effective for one type of nail fungus may be useless if the disease is triggered by pathogens of another type.

The complexity of treatment lies in the fact that the infection is localized not on the surface of the nail, but under the nail plate. Therefore, the use of external drugs does not always give the expected effect. If left untreated, the disease will continue to progress. Moreover, the more the disease is started, the more difficult it will be to cure it.

toenails affected by fungus

Onychomycosis often appears on the legs. The infection can affect the nail of the first toe, but over time it can spread to other nails. Fungus on the hands is much less common, but this disease should not be considered rare.


Symptoms depend on the shape and stage of the lesion, therefore, it is impossible to unequivocally answer the question of what the fungus on the nails looks like.

The most common case

The initial stage is called normotrophic. At this stage, the manifestations are dim, so many patients do not pay attention to them. Most often, you can see the following signs:

  • loss of transparency;
  • the appearance of yellowish spots, most often at the outer edge;
  • sometimes there is a feeling that a "void" has formed between the nail and the nail bed.
the initial stage of nail fungus infection

This lesion is called distal-lateral and is the most common. If no treatment was carried out, then the process begins to progress. Subungual keratosis appears. This phenomenon is characterized by increased growth of horny cells, as a result of which the nail becomes thicker.

Advice! Hyperkeratosis is a normal reaction of the nail to an infection. Moreover, the deeper the infection penetrates into the nail plate, the thicker the nail becomes.

At a later stage, complete damage to the nail plate is noted, signs of dystrophy appear. Gradually, the matrix is also involved in the process - the place from which the nail grows. At this stage, even the removal of the nail does not give a result, since the nail plate is already beginning to grow sick.

Surface form

At the initial stage, whitish spots appear on the nails in this form. Over time, they grow, capturing the entire surface of the nail. The plate becomes loose, rough. If you scratch the nail with a hard object, then the scales begin to separate.

Advice! This form of fungal disease occurs only on the toes, most often on the big one, less often on the little finger.

Proximal subungual

In this form, the affected nails look like this:

subungual nail fungus
  • the tissues surrounding the nail turn red and inflamed;
  • the roller swells, becomes painful;
  • the cuticle begins to separate from the nail;
  • dystrophic changes in the nail appear, first grooves appear on the plate, then brittleness appears, and at an advanced stage the plate disappears.

Varieties of fungi

The manifestations of the disease also depend on the type of pathogen. Of course, it is possible to accurately determine the type of pathogen only after testing. External signs are also different, but still, the symptoms are not diagnosed:

  • Dermatophyte. Fungi from the genus dermatophytes feed on keratin, that is, they "attack" the hair, nails and the upper stratum corneum. About 40 varieties of fungi of this type are known, but onychomycosis causes only about a dozen varieties of pathogens. The source of infection is a sick person, you can become infected through direct contact or when using common objects. Stripes and spots first appear on the affected nails, then the edge of the nail gradually turns yellow and gradually lags behind the nail bed. The larger the area of the spot, the higher the degree of infestation.
  • nail affected by fungi dermatophytes
  • Yeast fungi. These are pathologies caused by fungi from the genus Candida. The causative agent of this type is opportunistic. That is, in a certain amount, fungi are present on the surface of the skin and nails, but with a decrease in immunity, fungi begin to multiply, causing inflammation. When the nails are damaged, the plate gradually becomes thinner, turns yellow, and then becomes brown and lags behind the nail bed. With this type of infection, the nail folds are severely affected, they turn red, swell, and become painful.

    Advice! Usually, the fungal infection develops gradually. Often, the disease lasts for years without going into an advanced stage. But when the nail plate is affected by yeast fungi, the disease progresses very quickly.

  • Molds. Infection caused by molds is localized on the top of the plate, without penetrating deep into the plate. Therefore, this type of onychomycosis is easier to treat than others. The first signs of damage are a change in the color of the nail plate. Moreover, the nail acquires an unnatural color, it can turn green or black. In the initial stages, dark dots appear on the nails, which gradually develop into spots, and over time the color changes the entire plate.
mold on the nails

If onychomycosis is not treated, the pathogens transfer to the skin of the feet, causing skin mycosis. In this case, symptoms such as itching, cracks in the skin appear. It becomes painful for the patient to put on shoes and walk.

What should I do?

What should you do if you notice signs of a fungal infection? Self-medication is not worth it. A dermatologist should be seen. The specialist will prescribe tests and make an accurate diagnosis. Parents of children need to be especially careful. Of course, in children, nail fungus is not observed too often, but, nevertheless, such a disease occurs at any age.

Remember that the earlier treatment is started, the easier it will be to cope with the disease. If a fungal infection is started to be treated in the early stages, then it will be possible to do with the use of local remedies - ointments, solutions. But you will have to be treated persistently, for several weeks.

neglected nail fungus

At advanced stages, it is necessary to apply not only ointments, but also drugs of systemic action, that is, tablets. Such drugs are taken orally, from the digestive tract, active substances are absorbed into the bloodstream, and are carried throughout the body with the bloodstream. Thus, the infection will be destroyed from the inside.

At any stage of the disease, it will be very useful to work on strengthening the immune system. Immunomodulators, if necessary, will be prescribed by a specialist. And the patient on his own will need to establish a rest regimen, sleep more, and walk daily. You also need to monitor your diet. The "favorite food" of fungi is sugar. Therefore, you need to minimize the amount of sweets in your diet as much as possible.

So, it will be useful for every person to know what the fungus of nails on the hands and toes looks like. Such knowledge will help to detect signs of the disease in a timely manner and begin treatment at the earliest stages. This will allow you to quickly cope with the disease and do without the use of systemic drugs that negatively affect the liver.