Distal subungual onychomycosis (DSO)
This is the type of fungal infection with the highest rates of occurrence and is triggered by the same fungi that result in athletes foot. DSO targets the nailbed, which is the skin under the nail, as well as in the nail itself. A DSO infection commonly starts at the end of the nail bed, and moves its way up, turning the nail yellow or white.
The infection causes a build-up of nail pieces and dead skin under the nail itself. As DSO advances, there is an increased risk of the nail losing its strength, which causes it to split and crumble. The nail can also thicken and swell up, causing discomfort when wearing closed shoes. A DSO infection is, unfortunately, notoriously difficult to treat and can become a lifelong problem if it is not treated to ameliorate the symptoms.
White superficial onychomycosis (WSO)
WSO is another common infection that is, luckily, easy to treat. This type of infection begins on the top of the nail and is recognisable by the small, white spots that cover the nail’s surface. Thereafter, the entire nail loses its smooth texture and gets a chalky, powdery surface. Unlike DSO, WSO does not cause the nail to separate from the nail bed, or cause the nail to thicken.
Common treatments that are recommended for WSO include long-term oral courses of medication, which require patients to take daily doses, and courses of topical creams that patients can apply directly to the afflicted nail.