What are nails? Nails are the layer which protects the sensitive tips of the fingers and toes. Each nail consists of a hard keratin plate which is constantly being produced by the root of the nail, and from the free end of the nail at the tip of the digit, each nail is partially covered by folds of skin (cuticles).  This article will help familiarize you with some of the most common diseases of the nails.
Nail Fungus

The most common fungal infection of the nails is caused by a fungus known as onychomycosis, which damages the upper portion of the nail. In most cases, it also causes thickening and distortion of the nail. Additionally, the fungus changes the color of the nail to dark yellow, and in extreme situations, to brown/black.


Other Types of Nail Fungus

Other common types of nail fungus include:

  • Candida: A fungus that appears on the nail plate and can cause inflammation of the area surrounding the nail, especially where the nail meets the cuticle, leading to an infection under the skin known as a paronychia.
  • Epidermophytosis: A fungus which occurs as a result of excess sweating of the feet. This fungus initially damages the skin of the foot and from there, spreads toward the toenails. In most cases, the skin of the foot becomes whiter, more swollen, and tends to peel .

In both situations, the condition is treated with a topical cream along with anti-inflammatory treatment which is provided in accordance with the severity of the problem, based on the judgment of a podiatrist (a specialist in medical problems of the feet).

Ingrown Toenail

With this phenomenon, the toenail grows into the nail bed. As a result, the surrounding tissue grows over the nail and could cause infection, inflammation, and severe pain. There are a wide variety of causes of the development of ingrown toenails, including:


  • Incorrect cutting of toenails
  • Unusually long big to or third toe, forcing the toenails to rub together
  • Various types of inflammation and infection
  • Hereditary nail shape
  • Poor foot hygiene
  • Wearing improperly-fitted shoes
  • Irregular foot shape
  • Nail fungus