Different Types of Nail Fungus

Fungal nail fungal infection is a fungus thriving in and on your toenail or fingernail. Fungi may also survive on dead tissues of your hair, nails, and other outer layer tissues. Major fungal infections are:

Athlete’s foot causes thickened, white spots on the bottom surface of the fingernail. Jock itch causes sores on the skin of the lower leg and groin. Ringworm is often seen on the torso, buttocks, or arms. A dermatophyte, which refers to fungi that feed off of living organisms, is the reason behind athlete’s foot and jock itch, as well as ringworm and dermatophyte on other parts of your body. A toenail fungal infection may cause nails to become brittle, thick, crumbly, dry, or have a yellowish color.

Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of finger or toenails. A few examples of finger or toenail fungi are Echinacea, Penicillium, Trichophyton, Alternaria, Mycoplasma, and Phomopsis. These fungi grow on the nail bed where they produce mycotoxins, which cause onychomycosis. Nail fungi growing on other areas of your body, such as the scalp, face, hands, or feet, rarely produce mycotoxins, but you should be aware that even these fungi can cause dermatophytes. Here are a few common toenail infections that can also be mistaken for a fungal infection.


The first type of onychomycosis is the most easily identified because it occurs only on a small portion of the nail plate. This type of onychomycosis (onychocephaly) is typically very small with a white appearance – less than one percent of the nail plate is affected. Nail discoloration can be caused by a few different conditions, including trauma or an accident. In this case, the discoloration will eventually disappear.

The second common toenail fungus infection is athlete’s foot, which is more common in male athletes and is caused by the same fungus mentioned above. Athlete’s foot infects the skin around the toes and heel, usually on the inner side (inferior). Nail discoloration is thick, whitish, and tough, resembling a thick mud ring. If you frequently wear tight or damp socks, you are more likely to get this infection, so keep your socks on your toes or on your shins (inferior) at all times.

If you suspect you have onychomycosis or athlete’s foot, see a health care professional before starting any home treatments or over-the-counter medicines. Fungal infections that affect the nails are a common occurrence, and people from all walks of life can fall victim to this fungal infection. If left untreated, these fungal nail infections may need additional treatment and possibly even surgery.