Ringworm of Nails or Onychomycosis

Hands | Dermatology | Ringworm of Nails or Onychomycosis (Symptom)


The most common of all the nail abnormalities that usually causes a discoloration, dis-figuration and the eventual destruction of the toenail is called toenail Fungus. It has in its favor several medical terms, namely Onychomycosis, Tinea unguium and Ringworm of the nail.

Artificial nails increase the risk for onychomycosis because, when an artificial nail is applied, the nail surface is usually abraded with an emery board damaging it. Emery boards can carry infection, and water can collect under the artificial nail creating a moist, warm environment favorable for fungal growth. Alternative names for ringworm of the nails include tinea unguium and dermatophytic onychomycosis.


In normal, healthy people, fungal nails are most commonly caused by fungus that is caught from moist, wet areas. Communal showers, such as those at a gym, or swimming pools are common sources. Athletes have been proven to be more susceptible to the fungus. This is presumed to be due to the wearing of tight-fitting, sweaty shoes associated with repetitive trauma to the toenails.

Those at increased risk for developing onychomycosis include: (i) People with diabetes; (ii) People with disease of the small blood vessels (peripheral vascular disease); (iii) Older women (perhaps because estrogen deficiency increases the risk of infection); and (iv) Women of any age who wear artificial nails (acrylic or wraps).