Fungal infections of both the nail and skin come in many guises, and are most common in the feet where footwear creates the perfect environment of moisture and warmth and communal activity permits the spread of infection.
Fungal nails are harder to treat than fungal infections of the skin.
An infected nail manifests itself in many ways, and discolouration can be yellow, brown, green or white.
The nail can be thickened with a porous worm eaten appearance, or thin and flaky.
In some cases there can be a musty odour to the debris that collects under the nail.
Fungal nails can come hand in hand with fungal skin and affect all nails or just one individual nail.
Treatment is prescription only and can be both topical and oral.
Topical treatments come in a lacquer form and take a long time to work (1 1/2 -2 years).
Oral treatments work far quicker (6-12 months) but are very costly and strong.
According to the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists by far the most successful treatment is the combined therapy of both oral and topical medication.
Tea Tree oil can be applied neatly to the nail and has some antifungal properties.
A visit to a podiatrist can improve the comfort and aesthetics of the nails and treatment discussed, although you wil need to talk to your GP about a prescription.