Fungi, including yeasts and molds, are typically the causes of nail infections, and most are caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. The most common fungi that cause nail infection disease in animals and humans are Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, and Candida albicans. These fungi can live in the layer of dead skin around your nails, in the space under your nail, and in the nail itself.Fungal nail infection often results from damage to the nail plate or the surrounding area. A skin infection or athlete’s foot invades the nail, causing the infection. Up to 30 percent of patients with fungal nail infections also have fungal skin infection. Hot, sweaty feet in fully enclosed shoes provide the ideal warm, damp environment for fungi to thrive.
Factors that increase the risk of nail infections are:
- nail damage (e.g.: activities that cause trauma to the nail)
- medical conditions such as diabetes, psoriasis, or a weakened immune system
- general poor health
- using shared washing facilities without slippers