Fungal nails (Onychomycosis)

Nail fungal infections affects 5% of the general population, 20% of people over 60, and 50% of individuals over 70.

Working in damp areas increases the risk of infection and Men contract toenail fungus more often than women.

People with psoriasis have a 56% higher risk for nail infection and One ­third of diabetics have onychomycosis


Risk factors include age, poor circulation, thickening of nails, diabetes, psoriasis, immune system disorders, and excessive perspiration.


Fungal nails (Onychomycosis) affects upwards of 20% of the over 60s. Whilst mainly a cosmetic issue, it can cause skin irritation, severe nail thickening, discolouration of the nail, and embarrassment or distress to the individual.

The nails may appear yellow, brown or green and there may be an unpleasant odour associated with them.


  1. See GP for tablets to eradicate the infection – Terbinafine tablets have potential side-effects however (implications for liver and kidneys) and therefore your GP may not be prepared to prescribe this for you. A typical course would be from 3 – 6 months.
  2. Your GP may prescribe Loceryl or a similar topical treatment. This may be needed for 6-12 months.
  3. Purchase an over-the counter topical treatment from your local pharmacy. This would usually be ‘painted’ onto the nail – be prepared to use this for 6-12 months
  1. Tea tree oil – several drops on the nail plate and under the free (cutting) edge of the nail – daily use – may take 6 – 12 months or more
  2. Vicks vaporub – anecdotal evidence exists along with some small trial studies (1) – use daily by rubbing onto the nail – may take 12 months to demonstrate improvement
  3. LASER or Phototherapy – the use of light to kill the fungi – generally effective but expensive

Nails that are a uniform yellow colour may look unhealthy but may only be thickened nails and NOT fungal – you will need a podiatrist to take a look at them to help diagnose.

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If you would like to know more about Onychomycosis or

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