The initial stage of foot fungus: symptoms and remedies

Most fungal infections are difficult to treat. For this reason, the effectiveness of therapy against them is much higher at an early stage. To cope with the disease faster, you need to know how toenail fungus begins. A person often does not pay attention to the first symptoms, which is a big mistake. Progressing, the fungus not only significantly worsens the quality of life, but also leads to serious complications in the form of complete loss of the nail plate and even sepsis.

What is foot fungus

In medicine, a fungus is understood as a group of diseases called mycoses. They rank second after purulent lesions of the epidermis - pyoderma. A pathogenic microorganism parasitizes a person's skin or nails, causing an infection. In the first case, the disease is called dermatomycosis, and in the second, onychomycosis. There are other types of fungal infections that are secreted depending on the pathogen. There are many types of fungi. They are divided into anthropophilic (infecting humans) and zooanthropophilic (observed in humans and animals).

The reasons

The main risk factor for contracting a fungal infection is a weakened immune system. In this case, it is easier for the pathogen to enter the body. It is easy to get infected in public places, especially with high humidity and temperature, for example, swimming pool, gym, sauna, steam bath. Among the risk factors for fungal disease are also:

  • flat feet;
  • inadequate personal hygiene;
  • circulatory disorders in the lower extremities;
  • increased sweating;
  • frequent trauma to the skin;
  • obesity.

These are common causes of fungal infections. The causative agent of the disease itself is common. Depending on the parasitic fungus, a person can develop the following types of infections:

  1. Epidermophytosis. It is observed when the skin and nails are affected by anthropophilic fungi with dermatophytes (dermatomycetes) of three types: Trichophyton, Microsporum, Epidermophyton. You can get this infection through household items. The risk group includes men of mature age, especially with excessive sweating of the legs.
  2. Trichophytosis. It is caused by trichophyton fungi, which are particularly infectious. Trichophytosis is also observed in children and adolescents. Workers of showers, baths, hot workshops are more susceptible.
  3. Candidiasis. It is observed less often than other forms of fungal infection. Yeast fungi of the genus Candida are considered conditionally pathogenic, because they are activated when immunity is weakened.
  4. Rubromycosis. This is a type of ringworm caused by the fungus Trichophyton rubrum. Due to the high enzymatic activity, the pathogen causes damage to the skin of the feet in large folds of the skin. Fluffy and long hairs are less commonly affected. Rubromycosis accounts for 60-80% of all fungal infections of the feet.
  5. Onychomycosis of the feet. This is a fungal disease of the nail plates caused by different types of pathogenic fungi. One or more nails are affected. If the infection is not treated, then the plates are completely destroyed.
what does toenail fungus look like

Infection routes

The likelihood of infection is higher in children, since their thin skin makes them more susceptible to any microorganisms. Risk factors include a weakened immune system, problems with the nervous or endocrine system, the presence of chronic pathologies and an altered sweat composition. There are several ways of getting a fungal infection. They fall into two main groups:

  1. Straight. Infection occurs through plants, soil, contact with a sick person or animal.
  2. Indirect. In this case, you can become infected when using personal items of an infected person or those that he used.

Symptoms of the fungus on the feet

A well-studied clinical picture of fungal infections helps to identify them at an early stage. Damage to the nail and soft tissue structures is visible at the site of the lesion with the naked eye. Common fungal symptoms are reflected in the following list:

  • discoloration of the nail plate to light yellow at an early stage, and then to yellow, brown, light green and even black;
  • itching sensation in the periungual zone;
  • unpleasant odor;
  • hyperkeratosis, i. e. thickening of the nail plate, or its thinning;
  • deformation of the free edge of the nail;
  • peeling of the skin around the nail plate and in the interdigital spaces;
  • calluses and calluses on the foot;
  • fragility of the nail, its crumbling;
  • redness of the skin around the nail plate.

Epidermophytosis and trichophytosis

These forms of fungal infections proceed in almost the same way, which is why they were combined into one group of diseases. They are called "foot mycoses". Depending on the form, the infection manifests itself in different symptoms. Often, a patient has several types of fungus combined at once. For this reason, the division of the fungus into forms is conditional:

  • squamous, or scaly;
  • dyshidrotic, which is accompanied by disruption of the sweat glands;
  • intertrigious, in which diaper rash is noted on the skin;
  • hypertrophic, atrophic or normotrophic onychomycosis.

Squamous form of foot fungus

The initial stage of the fungus on the legs of this form is characterized by the defeat of only one foot. The infection passes to another only later. The disease can be recognized by the following signs:

  • the appearance of a reddened area on the skin of the foot;
  • in the future, this area begins to peel off (the affected areas may have a different area);
  • some patients have itching.

The difficulty in diagnosing and treating the squamous form is that many patients are not worried about any symptoms. Because of this, they go to the doctor at an advanced stage. If the squamous form of fungal infection continues for a long time, then it can take on a dyshidrotic appearance. These two forms are interconnected, therefore they often provoke the appearance of each other.

squamous toenail fungus

Dyshidrotic form

This form is characterized by a course with a change in periods of remission and relapses. Its very first symptom is the appearance of bubbles on the arch of the foot (more often than one) - where it does not come into contact with the floor when walking. Their size varies from 2 to 8 mm. Gradually they begin to merge, merging into one big one. Further, each bubble is opened, and in its place there remains a superficial skin lesion - erosion.

In addition to the arch of the foot, its inner and outer lateral surfaces can become infected. At the site of ulceration of the vesicles, a large erosion remains, combined with diaper rash. The patient also complains of the following symptoms:

  • soreness and itching at the site of the lesion;
  • after the erosion dries up, it begins to peel off, resulting in the development of a squamous form;
  • a bacterial infection gradually joins, due to which the contents of the vesicles become cloudy, become purulent (in this case, antibiotics must be taken);
  • at the next stage, the skin of the foot turns red, swells, the patient has severe pain and even fever.

Intertrigue form

Among all forms of trichophytosis and epidermophytosis, it is the most common. It develops on its own or against the background of a squamous type of fungus. It is more often celebrated in the summer season. In winter, there is a period of remission. The disease is long-term and chronic. The beginning of the process can be seen between 4 and 5 toes, less often between 3 and 4. The first signs of an intertrigue form:

  • cracks and maceration in the skin with a whitish rim around, which is formed by the exfoliating epidermis (surface layer of the skin);
  • itching and burning sensation at the site of the lesion;
  • weeping in the interdigital space;
  • the appearance of erosion cracks in place, accompanied by severe pain syndrome.

As the disease progresses, the skin looses, due to which its protective function decreases. This increases the risk of developing streptococcal infections. It manifests itself as pustular inflammation, which is accompanied by swelling, redness and pain on the skin. Against this background, an increase in body temperature is observed. The patient complains of a general deterioration in well-being.

Onychomycosis of the feet

This disease in 70-75% of cases affects 3 and 4 toes, less often - 1 and 5. Often, onychomycosis occurs in the form of a normotrophic form, in which the color of the nail changes to yellow, and its integrity is preserved. In case of infection with mold fungi, the infection develops against the background of other diseases. the nail turns yellow, brown or black.

It is possible to detect onychomycosis at an early stage by spots and yellow stripes on the nail plate. Pathological changes are first observed near its free edge. Depending on the form of onychomycosis, it manifests itself in the following symptoms:

  1. Hypertrophic. It is accompanied by thickening and yellowing of the nail plate. It crumbles easily, and the skin underneath begins to peel off, becomes thick.
  2. Atrophic. The nail plate, on the other hand, becomes thinner. Coarse skin is also exposed under it.
beautiful legs without fungus

Treatment of the initial stage of the fungus on the feet

In the early stages of infection, topical preparations are used in the form of ointments, gels, patches, solutions, varnishes, sprays, and liquids. They are effective by acting directly at the site of inflammation. For the interdigital spaces, a gel and suspension are more suitable, and an ointment for the skin of the heels. The initial stage of toenail fungus is treated with antifungal varnishes and solutions.

If the disease has taken an advanced stage, then a systemic drug is required. They are used as tablets and capsules. They destroy the infection from the inside out. At the initial stage, the use of tablets and capsules is irrational due to the greater number of side effects compared to local agents. In addition to medication, it is important to follow the rules of hygiene. This must be done as follows:

  • wear closed slippers, do not walk at home with bare feet;
  • treat shoes 2 times a day with special disinfectants;
  • wash the patient's clothes separately from all other things;
  • wash your feet daily, then treat them with antifungal agents;
  • do wet cleaning in the room every day, ventilate;
  • after taking a bath, rinse it thoroughly with hot water;
  • change socks daily;
  • after recovery, throw away socks, towels, shoes, washcloths and other things of the patient.

To prevent possible relapses of the disease, it is necessary to strengthen the immune system. For this, the patient is prescribed immunomodulators and vitamins. The basis of both external and systemic therapy is antifungal drugs. When attaching a bacterial infection, antibacterial medicines are used. Sometimes antihistamines are prescribed to relieve allergies.

Medicines for foot fungus

Knowing what nail fungus looks like at the initial stage, you can notice it much earlier. This will ensure a faster recovery. The effectiveness of therapy also depends on the correct drug. There are many antifungal agents in the form of tablets, ointments, gels. To use drugs correctly, you need to study their main characteristics:

Active substance

Mechanism of action

Method of application, effect

A course of treatment


Naftifine hydrochloride

Destroys the causative agents of mycoses of the feet, some bacteria. Has anti-inflammatory effect.

Rub the cream or solution into cleansed skin 2 times a day.

2-4 weeks.

Pregnancy, lactation, age up to 18 years.


Effective against all pathogens of mycoses of the feet.

Apply the suspension or cream several times a day to the affected skin.

Determined by a doctor.

Sensitivity to the constituents of the product.


Many other antifungal agents have been synthesized on the basis of this substance. Clotrimazole has a broad spectrum of action.

Apply to clean, dry skin 2-3 times daily.

1-4 weeks + 3 more weeks after recovery.

Hypersensitivity to clotrimazole.


It is effective against many pathogens of mycoses, including mold and yeast-like fungi.

Apply cream, lotion, solution or aerosol 1-3 times a day on the skin of the feet.

2-4 weeks.



A wide range of activity against all fungal pathogens.

2 capsules 2 times daily - with onychomycosis; 0. 1-0. 2 g 2 times a day - with mycosis of the feet.

7 days, then a break of 3 weeks - with onychomycosis;

1-2 weeks - with mycosis of the feet.

Pregnancy, lactation, simultaneous use with midozolam, nisoldipine, ergot alkaloids.


Fungistatic and fungicidal action against candidal fungi and trichophytons.

Apply a small amount of cream to the affected areas twice a day.

Up to 4 weeks.

Pregnancy, lactation, hypersensitivity, childhood.


Destroys pathogens of candidiasis, trichophyton, emidermophyton.

0. 25 g 1-2 times daily.

6 weeks, with damage to the nail plates - 12 weeks.

Dysfunction of the kidneys and liver, malignant neoplasms, pregnancy, lactation, vascular diseases of the legs.


High activity against yeast fungi.

150 mg every week or 50 mg daily.

6 weeks.

Pregnancy, lactation, childhood.


Fungistatic effect against pathogenic fungi.

16 mg per 1 kg of body weight daily in the first month of treatment;

further in the same dosage, but every other day;

for the third month according to the second scheme, until healthy nails grow back.

Apply the ointment no more than 30 g per day.

For tablets - 3 months, for ointments - 3 weeks.

Dysfunction of the liver and kidneys, a decrease in the number of leukocytes in the blood, pregnancy, lactation, malignant tumors.

well-groomed toenails

Folk methods

Effective treatment of even the initial stage of a fungal infection cannot be carried out without medication. They are the mainstay of therapy. Traditional methods are used only as an auxiliary method. Even though alternative medicine is relatively safe, you should consult your doctor before using it. He will give advice on the following alternative methods of treating a fungal infection:

  1. Take an equal amount of oak bark, verbena, calendula inflorescences, dried blackberries. From the resulting mixture, put in a separate container 3 tbsp. l. Pour in a glass of water and put on fire. After 15-20 minutes, strain, allow to cool to an acceptable temperature. Use to lubricate damaged areas.
  2. Mix equal proportions of copper sulfate, yellow sulfur and pork fat. After obtaining a homogeneous mass, bring to a boil, then put in a dark place. Use after cooling to lubricate affected areas. Pre-steam your feet in a soda bath.
  3. For 2-3 liters of boiling water, take 2-3 tbsp. l. fresh milkweed herb. Place the ingredients in a glass container, wrap with a blanket, leave for 3-4 hours. Then use for a bath. Pour the broth into a bowl, put your feet in it, soak them in the solution for 40-45 minutes. Repeat the procedure at intervals of 2-3 days until complete recovery.