Nail Fungus

Overview of Nail Fungus

A fungal infection of one or more nails is called onychomycosis. It tends to be more common on the toenails than the fingernails. Fungal nail infections usually develop on nails that are continually exposed to warm, moist environments, such as sweaty socks and shoes or shower floors. The infection is not the same as “Athlete’s Foot”, which primarily affects the skin of the feet. 

Signs & Symptoms

As a fungal infection spreads deeper into a nail, it can cause the nail to discolor, thicken and develop crumbling edges. 


To help prevent nail fungal infections and reduce their recurrence, practice good hand and foot hygiene:

  • Keep nails short, dry and clean. Cut toenails straight across.
  • Wear absorbent cotton socks and change socks often.
  • Use an antifungal spray or powder on your feet and the insides of your shoes.
  • Wear rubber gloves to prevent hands and nails from overexposure to water.
  • Do not go barefoot in public places.
  • Give up frequent usage of nail polish and artificial nails.
  • Do not trim or pick at the skin around your nails. 


Nail fungal infections can be difficult to treat and recurrent infections are not uncommon. Over the counter antifungal creams/ointments are available but they are not usually very effective. For persistent infections, prescription oral medication is available. However, it is expensive, needs to be taken for a long time and it can have side effects. 

How We Can Help

  • If you would like to be seen by our medical staff, please contact our Appointment Desk to schedule an appointment.
  • Also, our Advice Nurse service is available at no charge for all UC Davis students to discuss health concerns and the need for medical care.