Fungal nail infections can be caused by three different types of fungus, alone or in combination.
- Dermatophytes are a type of fungus that can grow on the skin, hair, and nails. The most common dermatophyte, Trichophyton rubrum, causes most cases of athlete's foot. Athlete's foot, in turn, can infect the toenails. You can get infected by contact with objects that have dermatophytes on them, such as clothing, shoes, nail clippers, nail files, shower and locker room floors, and carpet
- Yeasts are a type of fungus that grows on the skin and nails. They are normally present on the human body. Things like illness, antibiotic or birth control pill use, and immune system problems may allow an overgrowth of yeast, leading to a yeast infection.
A fungal nail infection usually isn't painful. But without treatment, over time it can become uncomfortable or even painful to wear shoes, walk, or stand for a long time.
Your symptoms will depend on the type of infection you have. The two most common infections are both caused by dermatophytes.
Distal subungual onychomycosis Symptoms include:
- Yellow streaks in the nail bed and on the underside of the nail.
- Buildup of bits and pieces of skin and nail fragments (debris) under the nail.
- A discolored and thickened nail that may separate from the skin under the nail.
- A brittle, broken, and thickened nail.
- White spots or streaks on the nail surface.
- Soft and powdery nail surface, as the infection gets worse.
- Damaged, crumbly, and brown or gray nail surface. But the nail doesn't separate from the skin underneath.
Find more information: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/nail-problems