How do I know if I have a fungal infection in my nail?

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Speaker 1:

Yep.

Speaker 2:

So today we are going to be talking about types of nails. So if you’re worried about your nails and how they’re looking, and you’re concerned, this might be quite useful for you. So, first of all, I’m going to show you two pictures of some fungal nails. So obviously this is worrying to people because it is an infection.

Speaker 1:

Thank you.

Speaker 2:

So what we’ve got here are two different types of presentations. So you can see this is quite white here, but it’s got an irregular edge and this will spread out over time. Probably quite rapidly for this type of fungus. Okay? this nail over here, this is probably a more slow growing fungus here. But you can see, there are lots of different colors going on here. So we’ve got some grayish, some brownish patches, some yellow up here as well. And this is a nice healthy nail here, which is a good texture. And over here, you can tell it’s very dry, very brittle and very disrupted. And that’s what the fungus does as it moves through the nail plate. It destroys the nail plate, and integrity is totally different to a healthy nail.

Speaker 2:

But there are some other types of nail presentations that can look concerning, but they’re not fungal. So we’re going to talk about those as well.

Speaker 1:

So the first one we’re going to look at is actually a mix of the two. So this is a damaged nail. You can see it’s thickened, but just here you can see it’s also got some fungus in. Now, this is quite often how fungus gets into them, because they start off damaged by foot wear, by trauma of any sort.

Speaker 2:

And it can be that you do lots of sport as well. Lots of running, tennis, things like that, where there’s a lot of impact. Football.

Speaker 1:

And you may not directly think it’s been damaged, but they often, big toes especially pick up a lot of damage, and nails generally do in shoes. And so it gets in from there, and then before you know it, it’ll be looking like the one we reviewed.

Speaker 2:

It’s progressed through. Okay.

Speaker 1:

This one looks quite similar in some ways to the nail that was on just a couple of minutes ago. This one, it has darkened elements to it, but it’s actually just a damaged nail.

Speaker 2:

And we can see this because it’s much more regular in color through the nail plate. And there’s no indications of fungus to us clinically looking at it. So although some people are unhappy about these types of nails, and there is some management that we can do long-term to improve them. They don’t have an infection in them that needs treating.

Speaker 1:

Okay. And then this is a sort of issue that we see quite a lot as well. So this nail here, again looks as if it has got a little bit of fungus in it, but it hasn’t. The yellowing is actually to do with where the nail has come away from the nail bed. So you can see that this nail here has half separated from the nail bed, and half is still attached. So this is all perfectly healthy, and this nail is actually pretty healthy.

Speaker 2:

If someone came into us with a nail like this, we would just need to cut that right back so that it doesn’t catch on anything and allow the healthy nail to grow back through as well.

Speaker 1:

Yep.

Speaker 2:

Okay?

Speaker 1:

Okay. And then this one. So this is something that we do see and can quite easily be confused for a fungal infection. With this white area around here, but this pitting in it is actually a psoriatic nail. So it’s somebody with psoriasis in their skin.

Speaker 2:

So linked to psoriasis. So usually people have psoriasis elsewhere on their body. Can be anywhere, can be scalp. Absolutely anywhere. Sometimes people also get psoriatic nails, which is the formal name for it, if you like. So again, it’s not an infection that needs treating.

Speaker 2:

However, if you do have psoriatic nails, you can be vulnerable to a secondary fungal or bacterial infection.

Speaker 1:

Fungal infection, yep.

Speaker 2:

And so you just need to really look after them well. And we can give people advice about that if they need.