Pictures of Toenail Colors and What They Mean

The itching and burning of athlete’s foot is a common enemy lurking throughout locker rooms. But you can get this foot condition even if you haven’t been in a gym. It includes two separate infections: one that affects the skin on your feet, which is classic athlete’s foot, and another infection that affects your toenails, called mycotic nails.

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They’re both very common because exposing yourself to the fungus that causes them is easy to do. Dermatologist Pamela Ng, MD, explains what you need to know about this common condition and top ways to stop it in its tracks.

Athlete’s foot is a highly contagious fungal infection that is part of a larger family of fungal infections affecting the skin and nails. These include “jock itch” and ringworm. Because it’s a fungus, it thrives in the moist, warm climate of your gym locker room, bathrooms and showers. You get athlete’s foot by direct contact with contaminated surfaces, most commonly within these shared communal spaces, but also brewing inside your sweaty, tight-fitting shoes.

Symptoms of athlete’s foot include a scaly, itchy rash on the feet and between toes. Mycotic nails appear discolored to a brownish-yellow and the nails become thick, brittle and separated from the nail bed. These things are more than just a cosmetic embarrassment; for some, they can become a serious health concern.

“If you are diabetic or immune-compromised, it’s important to get foot fungus issues under control,” says Dr. Ng. “The fungal infections can cause breakdown of the skin and lead to conditions like cellulitis or foot ulcers.”

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What is paronychia?

Paronychia is a skin infection around the fingernails or toenails. It usually affects the skin at the base (cuticle) or up the sides of the nail. There are two types of paronychia:

  • Acute paronychia – comes on suddenly and may not last long; it usually occurs on fingers.
  • Chronic paronychia – lasts longer and may occur on your fingers or toes. It either doesn’t get better or keeps coming back.
  • Paronychia can happen to adults and children. Usually it isn’t serious and can be treated at home.

    What are the symptoms of paronychia?

    Typically, paronychia begins with pain, swelling and redness around the base or the sides of the nail. Acute paronychia can cause pus-filled pockets (abscesses) to form.

    Chronic paronychia may cause the cuticle to break down. This type of paronychia may eventually cause the nail to separate from the skin. The nail may become thick, hard, and deformed.

    Paronychia caused by bacteria can get worse quickly. Fungus-caused paronychia typically gets worse slowly over time.

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    The itching and burning of athlete’s foot is a common enemy lurking throughout locker rooms. But you can get this foot condition even if you haven’t been in a gym. It includes two separate infections: one that affects the skin on your feet, which is classic athlete’s foot, and another infection that affects your toenails, called mycotic nails.

    Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

    They’re both very common because exposing yourself to the fungus that causes them is easy to do. Dermatologist Pamela Ng, MD, explains what you need to know about this common condition and top ways to stop it in its tracks.

    Athlete’s foot is a highly contagious fungal infection that is part of a larger family of fungal infections affecting the skin and nails. These include “jock itch” and ringworm. Because it’s a fungus, it thrives in the moist, warm climate of your gym locker room, bathrooms and showers. You get athlete’s foot by direct contact with contaminated surfaces, most commonly within these shared communal spaces, but also brewing inside your sweaty, tight-fitting shoes.

    Symptoms of athlete’s foot include a scaly, itchy rash on the feet and between toes. Mycotic nails appear discolored to a brownish-yellow and the nails become thick, brittle and separated from the nail bed. These things are more than just a cosmetic embarrassment; for some, they can become a serious health concern.

    “If you are diabetic or immune-compromised, it’s important to get foot fungus issues under control,” says Dr. Ng. “The fungal infections can cause breakdown of the skin and lead to conditions like cellulitis or foot ulcers.”

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