A nail fungal infection, also termed onychomycosis,  is a condition that affects the fingernails and toenails. Symptoms are denoted by a thickening and discoloration of the nail, eventually transforming the nail into hues of yellow, green, and even black. As the disease progresses, nail beds can become painful and brittle, and they even begin flaking and breaking off altogether.  These conditions are generally absent of any significant discomfort unless they have developed into severe issues.
This type of infection is surprisingly common these days, and occurrence often increases with age. According to recent statistics, around 3-5% of the population suffer from some type of nail fungus infection.  Toenail fungal infections are more prevalent than that of the fingernail yet are largely hidden from view by footwear.
In naturopathic teachings, the appearance of a toenail infection can reveal many things regarding overall health. A nail infection may suggest that the nails are receiving poor blood circulation, being among the last areas of the body to receive fresh blood supply. Issues with nail infections may also indicate immune system dysfunction. 
12 Facts About Nail Fungal Infections
- Onychomycosis accounts for up to 30% of all topical skin infections.
- Nail fungal infections affects up to 5% of the general population. 20% of people 60 and older, and 50% of individuals 70 years and older are also affected.
- Conventional approaches to fungal infections are only effective in about 50% of people.
- The 3 primary causative pathogens are dermatophytic fungi, Candida yeasts, and non-dermatophytic molds.
- The majority of toenail fungal infections are often caused by dermatophytic fungi.
- The majority of fingernail fungal infections are often caused by Candida fungi.
- Various molds can cause both toenail and fingernail infections.
- Men generally contract toenail fungus (aka athlete’s foot) more often than women.
- Infection of the nails can stem from people who work in/around water or damp areas.
- Risk factors include age, diminished blood circulation, slower thickening of nails, diabetes, psoriasis, going long periods without wearing shoes, immune system disorders, and excessive perspiration.
- One third of diabetics have been shown to have onychomycosis.
- People with psoriasis have a 56% higher risk for nail infection.