What does the fungus look like on the toenails and between the fingers: how to identify the fungus in the early stages

Among all fungal diseases, mycoses (fungal lesions) on the skin of the feet are the most common. They are also called ringworm or athlete's foot. About 30% of the population has problems with fungal diseases. Almost half of patients never go to the doctor with them, spreading the fungus among loved ones. Microscopic pathogens affect the dermis (skin) or nails. In the second case, they are talking about onychomycosis.

Why are the feet most often affected?

Various fungi are always present on the skin. Their reproduction is prevented by beneficial bacteria and skin secretions. If there is a violation in the work of immunity, a change in the composition of the microflora of the skin, the right time for fungi to arise - they can multiply freely. The entrance for infection can serve as a common damage:

  • scratch;
  • cracks;
  • scratched

Another cause of mycoses is endocrine disorders. If there is a malfunction in the work of the endocrine glands, not only the hormonal balance changes, but also the work of the whole organism. Including, the composition of the skin's secret changes, because of which they lose their bactericidal properties. Fungi can eat it, which also promotes reproduction.

Other factors also contribute to the weakening of the protection force:

  • food fatigue (lack of nutrients);
  • avitaminosis;
  • excessive physical and psycho-emotional stress;
  • concussion;
  • normal pressure.

All of these are non-specific causes of fungal skin lesions. Because of them, foot mycosis, smooth skin on the body or mucous membranes can develop.

In addition, there is a special type of fungus (trichophyton or Microsporum genus) - pathogenic (pathogenic). When in contact with the skin or on its surface, it causes disease. In the case of the feet, the disease is called rubromycosis. On the body, this pathogen forms certain spots - lichen. You can get infected from a person or an animal.

The skin of the feet is a special place for fungus. There are always many keratin cells. Microbes are used as shelter and food. Fungi "rampant" contribute to sweat on the feet. In closed shoes, a moist environment rich in nutrients is formed on the feet - the "dream" of every fungus. If a person neglects the hygiene of the feet, does not dry and disinfect the shoes, the infection first grows in them, and then it moves to the feet of the "owner". Poor hygiene products, dryness, synthetic socks also contribute to the spread of fungal infections.

Signs of fungus, visually noticeable

The treatment of dermatomycosis is easier, the earlier the disease is diagnosed. In advanced cases, therapy is long-term, it involves taking pills and using external agents. In the early stages of mycosis, the ointment can be removed. It is important to be able to recognize the early symptoms of fungus to see a doctor in time.

What the fungus looks like depends on the form of mycosis. Fungal infection on the feet can occur in 3 different variations, as well as in a mixed form - when the signs of the three main types are present on the feet at the same time.

Intertriginous form

toenail fungus symptoms

A type of tinea pedis that mainly affects the skin between the toes. The first symptom of this disease is the appearance of a painful crack between the 3rd and 4th or 4th and 5th loops of the foot. The damage is small, but it causes discomfort when washing the feet and walking.

If you examine the wound carefully, a whitish fringe is visible around it (example in the photo). This is what the edge of the skin around the peeling crack looks like. Wounds can itch, ooze, grow, or vice versa - periodically heal, then reappear.

In some cases, the cracks heal, but the skin continues to be shed, hyperkeratosis (thickening of the dermis) develops, corns and calluses appear. With the advanced intertriginous form, the cracks become larger (example in the photo), appear between other fingers, the skin is always wet. It is difficult for the patient to move, wear any shoes.

advanced fungus on the feet

As this form progresses, the cracks increase in size. The same signs appear on the other leg. A thick, large layer of skin peels off around the wound. The second end (attached) is not pushed and trying to remove the keratin part with the fingers ends up with additional damage to the leg.

This type of athlete's foot is the most common. Pathological manifestations are initially not accompanied by any symptoms. As a rule, the infection develops between the 3rd and 4th finger and does not change the color and structure of the skin until a certain point. After that, wet cracks and skin layers appear.

The feet themselves remain unharmed, however, if the fungus is affected, the feet may sweat more than usual. Fungal therapy of the intertriginous form is characterized by moderate complexity.

Dyshidrotic form

fungus on the skin of the feet

With this form, the first signs of fungus on the skin are blisters on the arches of the feet. Most often - near the heel. The surface becomes dry, a deep seal appears on it (feels like a nodule). Then, they significantly rise above the surface of the skin, because it is filled with liquid. Vesicles (vesicles) are usually small - from 2 to 5 mm in diameter. They can merge, forming larger ones - bullae. Other symptoms include pain and itching around the rash.

The progress of the dyshidrotic form of mycosis is indicated by the bursting of blisters. In their place, small or large erosion is formed. Often they become infected with bacteria and begin to boil. Erosions do not heal for a long time, making walking painful. In some cases, erosion disappears, and dryness appears in its place.

squamous shape

toenail fungus symptoms

With the progression of the disease, severe hyperkeratosis develops on the feet. The size and number of cracks increases. The biggest one might bleed. Such damage is a means for the invasion of other pathogenic microbes into the body. Therefore, the wound periodically becomes inflamed, can abscess. The most common form of foot fungus is manifested by increased dryness of the skin on the plantar part of the limb. This may mean the recent inclusion of fungi, or vice versa - is the result of the development of other forms.

On the arch of the foot and in the middle, the dermis becomes dry, thin, shiny, covered with a network of grooves. In the area of the fingers and heels, hyperkeratosis is observed - rapid keratinization, where dead particles do not have time to exfoliate. Calluses or corns form on the front legs. There is a small crack on the heel. The entire surface is rough due to significant peeling. Patients may experience itching. With prolonged development of mycosis, these symptoms are absent.

You can determine the fungus on the feet by excessive dryness, unpleasant odor, itching and constant peeling of the skin.


Onychomycosis is a type of foot (or palm) fungus, which affects the appendages of the skin - nails. Nail fungus can be caused by the same pathogen that triggers skin mycoses. Infected with mold and other types of mono fungus in the nail salon, at the beach, when trying on new shoes with bare feet, when going to the sauna or swimming pool. Ingrown toenails may be a contributing factor. The thumb is most commonly affected.

When it hits the nail plate, the fungus begins to divide. It penetrates deep into the nail, spreading to its area. The first signs by which you can determine the fungus in the nails are the loss of shine, the appearance of spots (white, yellow, brown, greenish), changes in the shape of the nail plate.

As the disease progresses, the nail structure changes in the discoloration zone (it thickens, becomes wavy, loose).

Toenail fungus looks like a thick yellow growth. It is difficult to take care of the affected nail plate. Before each trimming, you need to do a hot foot bath. After contact with water, the nails become softer and easy to remove with a manicure tool.

If the nail fungus is not treated, onycholysis begins - the plate completely or partially peels off. After removing the remnants, the nail does not always grow back. Sometimes the detachment process ends with the complete loss of the nail.

General principles of treatment

shoe fungus treatment

Fungus on the feet is treated with special ointments, creams, solutions, varnishes. In parallel, the patient is prescribed antifungal tablets.

During the treatment period, careful foot hygiene, weekly cutting and sawing of the damaged part are indicated. Every day, the patient must remove the layer of keratin cells from the surface of the feet, using a pedicure file.

It is also important to take care of the shoes carefully - treat them with antifungal drugs or disinfectants. Shoes are dried and aired daily in the open air.

External meaning

Only ointments or creams are prescribed in the early stages of foot fungus. For treatment, creams and other drugs are prescribed. They are applied to the skin 1-2 times a day, after washing the feet thoroughly with a simple soap. Before applying the cream, it is important to dry the feet completely. Do not apply the medicine to wet skin. After treatment, the patient should wear cotton socks.


It is impossible to treat fungus with pills yourself. All drugs adversely affect liver and kidney function, have some contraindications. Before prescribing a course of antifungal tablets, the specialist will recommend taking general blood and biochemical tests, which can be used to assess the state of vital organs.

Preparation for nails

Useful in the treatment of onychomycosis and athlete's foot. In the first case, it is used to remove the affected part of the nail, in the second - to prevent infection of the nail plate with fungus.

It is easiest to treat with varnish - it is applied to the nails 1-2 times a week. The most affordable remedy for nail fungus is a solution, it is applied to the nail 2 times a day until complete recovery. Special gels are popular. They improve the condition of visually affected nails, along the way, stop the reproduction of fungi. Ointment is also prescribed for onychomycosis. They are applied in a thick layer on the affected plate, covered with a bandage, kept like that until the product is completely absorbed. Treatment is repeated twice a day.

Preventing athlete's foot is easier than treating it. To do this, you need to live a healthy lifestyle, bring your own slippers to the swimming pool and sauna, regularly wash and air your shoes, wear socks made of natural fabrics, and use anti-sweat products. With regular visits to "wet" establishments, you should use antifungal cream prophylactically - treat the skin of the feet 1-2 times a week.