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What Causes Toe Nail Fungus?

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Do you know what causes toe nail fungus?

Microscopic organisms known as fungi cause fungal nail infections.

Fungus is normally present on the body without causing any harm until it multiplies excessively and uncontrollably.

It enters the nail through a crack on your nail, a cut on the skin around the nail or a separation between the nail and the skin.

Fungus thrives in warm, moist and dark environment like your feet inside the shoes.

Nail fungus is commonly found on the older generation but younger people are also susceptible to infections especially people with weak immune system like diabetics people.

What Causes Toe Nail Fungus Infection?

Also known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium is fungal infection that appears on the nail.

It can either enter through a cracked nail, cut on the skin or separation between the nail and the skin.

This infection is common on toenails but fingernails can also be infected.

This condition generally develops on the front or side of the nail and rarely develops from the nail bed.

Fungal infection on the nail can be a sign of candida virus or yeast within your system.

There are 3 main types of nail infection causes namely dermatophytes, molds and yeast.


Is a type of fungus which can strive on the nail, hair and skin.

The good thing about them is that they don’t affect the tissues and they are responsible for common fungal infections found in human body.

Athlete’s foot is usually caused by trichophyton rubrum and when left untreated can cause nail infection.

This kind of infection is commonly found in public swimming pools, public showers, locker rooms, nail clippers and most of salon utensils.


This fungus is normally found in the body without causing any danger until it is over populated it can be harmful.

Weak immune system, diabetes, birth control pills, antibiotics and other illnesses can cause this fungus to grow uncontrollably and infect the nail.


This kind of fungus is commonly found in the soil and can infect the nail.

Signs and Symptoms

There are different types of signs and symptoms that indicate you have nail infection.

Common signs of infected nail are brittle, ragged, crumbly, discolored, dry, distorted, thickened and sometimes smelly.

Different types of fungus have different signs and symptoms that appear on the nail and let us unpack them.

Distal Subungual Onychomycosis

This is one of the most common nail infection you can find and usually starts on the side of the nail by turning your nail white or yellow.

You will also notice debris accumulating under the nail causing the nail to be thick.

The debris continue to accumulate under the nail until it is thick and painful to wear shoes.

when left untreated the nail will separate from the skin.

White Superficial Onychomycosis

This is a moderate infection because the fungus does not penetrate the nail bed it is only found on the top layer of the nail.

White spots develop on the nail and grow over time until it has covered the whole nail.

It does not cause the nail to separate from the skin.

Candida Onychomycosis Or Yeast Infection

This type of fungal infection is found commonly on fingernails rather than toenails. (fingernail fungus remedies work also for toenail)

It has a potential of infecting all your nails at the same time.

It can either color the nail to green, yellow or brown.

The skin around the nail usually turns to red, swell, make the nail to be distorted in shape, the nail become thick and painful.

Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis

This infection is commonly found in people with HIV and affects the base of the nail causing the nail to separate from the skin.

It turns the nail to white and thickens the nail.

Similar symptoms can be caused by ailments like psoriasis, lichen planus, certain tumors on the nail so make sure you diagnose carefully.


To make sure that you properly diagnose your infection you need to consult your doctor so that he scraps your nail and check your nail scrapings under the microscope or by taking samples to the lap for further analysis and proper results.

Risk factors that can cause nail fungal infection include:

  • Having athlete’s foot infection
  • Weak immune system
  • Diabetic
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Older generation
  • Nail injury
  • Wearing artificial nails
  • Sweaty feet
  • Walking bare foot at public swimming pool, gym, locker rooms, etc
  • Poor feet hygiene
  • Wearing closed shoes for a long time

What Causes White Toenail Fungus?

It can be caused by either white superficial onychomycosis that is most common infection that turns the nail white.

This infection affects the whole nail by turning it white but does not affect the deep tissues or proximal subungual onychomycosis that is common on HIV people and starts at the base of the nail causing the nail to thicken.

It is also common on people with weak immune system like diabetic people.


What Causes Black Toenail Fungus?

Most of the times when the nail turns black it is because of the bruise under the nail usually called subungual hematoma.

If you injure your nail or your footwear press your nail until it is bruised.

This injury is common on long distance runners.

Normally you will start by seeing red color on your nail and it will turn to purple then dark brown until it is black.

This spot normally takes about 3-6 months to get rid of it because it takes time to grow a new nail.

If you are definitely sure that it is not a dye or an injury to the nail consult your doctor so that he ensures that you are not suffering from rare nail fungal infection caused by malignant melanoma or chronic diseases and other health problems.

What Causes Toenail Fungus Home Remedies?

Nail fungus can be treated at your comfort of your home but you need to be patient and consistent to see positive results.

You can rely on foot soak or ointment to kill nail fungus at home.

It only takes few minutes daily for a certain period to see new healthy nail growing again.

Foot Soak

Treat nail fungus with foot soak and is one of the effective means to get rid of nail fungus as long as you are patient because it takes longer than effective topical treatments to kill nail fungus.

Using listerine foot soak, apple cider vinegar foot soak, epsom salt foot soak and baking soda foot soak will surely help you to finally get rid of nail infection.


Ointment is easy to apply on your infected nail and is an effective treatment for fungal infection…

…and I recommend fine-vine super balm because it has more than 1500 positive reviews of satisfied users…

…who suffered from aliments like eczema, ringworm, jock itch, athlete’s foot and nail infection.

(To learn more about fine-vine super balm click here).

What Causes Toenail Fungus Treatment?


There are different methods to get rid of nail fungus.

The doctor may prescribe topical, oral, laser or total removal of the nail to deal with nail infection.

These treatments are different when it comes to price, time it takes to heal the nail, side effects and many more.

If you have weak immune system caused by illnesses like diabetes you need to consult the doctor to help you with fungus professionally.

Over The Counter Treatments

Easy to access because you can buy them from your local pharmacy or online stores.

The are effective topical medicines like zetaclear, emoninail and funginix that will kill your nail infection quickly.

Laser Treatment

Laser is a bit expensive but it is effective as long as you consult the authentic doctor.

It has one side effect to some people which is the heating sensation but fortunate enough it is controllable by having breaks between the treatment before the laser is hot.

Oral Medicines

Oral treatments are said to have many side effects compared to other treatments like damage to the liver…

…and it is recommended as last resort after trying other treatments without winning.


Eating a healthy diet alone can not kill nail fungus but can help control the growth of infection…

…and when it is paired with other effective means of treatment it enhances the healing process.

Does Diabetes Cause Toenail Fungus?

No diabetes does not cause nail fungus but it is one of the risk factors that increase the chances of being infected.


The stats show that only 8% of american general population that has nail infection and 30% of diabetic people have nail infection.

It clearly shows that being diabetic puts you at risk.

Does Athletes Foot Cause Nail Fungus?

Athlete’s foot can cause nail infection if it’s left untreated for a very long time.

You are advised to treat athlete’s foot immediately after developing it to avoid it spreading to other areas of your body including jock itch.

What Causes Toenail Fungus In Toddlers?

Toddlers can pick up fungus in many ways that most of them are predictable.

The nature of fungus is contagious and can be passed to toddlers easily by nail clippers used before by an infected person,

from being in contact for a very long time with an infected person,

playing in places that are breeding places for fungus…

…or from other children from creche.

Weak immune system can also be a risk factor that makes children vulnerable to infections.

What Causes Toenail Fungus To Grow?

There are many causes like weak immune system, poor hygiene, conducive environment, chronic illnesses, lack of proper treatment and re-infection of fungus that will allow the fungus to grow.

These causes are almost the same as risk factors that will increase the chances of being infected.

Can Wearing Nail Polish Cause Nail Fungus?

Wearing nail polish can not cause nail fungus because the chemicals that make nail polish are harsh for fungus to survive in…

…but using tools that where used by infected person while applying nail polish puts you at risk of being infected.

Painted nail usually becomes thick and dark and this can be a conducive environment for fungus like yeast that is normally present in the body to thrive especially if the area is moist.

It is important not to wear nail polish to allow your nail to breath.

To learn how I got rid of my nail infection read review of zetaclear article.


Photo of author


Bob Jones is a former toenail fungus sufferer who is passionate about helping fellow nail fungus sufferers learn about effective treatments. His knowledge about nail fungus helped many people get rid of their fungal infection.

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