Treatment Of Nail Fungal Infection At Different Stages
Treatment of onychomycosis at the first stage is crucial as the infection hasnt exacerbated yet and therefore is easier to heal. Topical treatments, such as anti-fungal creams and gels or medicated nail polish are the most commonly used at this stage. However, it is ideal to use a topically-applied medication that not only can kill the fungus, but can penetrate the nail as well.
Most topical treatments dont work because they cant penetrate the nail to get to the fungi. It is therefore recommended for sufferers to use a topical medication that can penetrate the nail and kill the fungus. A solution with 10% undecylenic acid, which can effectively get rid of the infection, and a penetrating agent , is recommended.
For moderate nail fungus infection, such topical solutions can still work. However, many sufferers use that in conjunction with oral medicines. Many anti-fungal pills in the market can treat fungal nail infection, though it is still suggested to use such medicines along with topical solutions .
Unfortunately, oral medicines are also more likely to cause side effects to patients. They are also not recommended for the elderly, pregnant women, and those who have other medical conditions or ailments.
But again, fungi can come back, even without the nail itself. This is why its recommended for patients to use topical anti-fungal ointment to the nail bed and surrounding skin while waiting for the nail to grow back. Otherwise, the fungi will just return.
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When Should I Call The Doctor
In rare cases, toenail fungus can cause an infection called cellulitis. Without prompt treatment, cellulitis may pose a serious danger to your health.
You should seek treatment guidance from a trusted healthcare provider if you have:
- Circulation problems.
- Redness, pain or pus near the toenail.
- Weakened immune system.
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Toenail Fungus: What You Need To Know & Healing Options
Sandal season isnt a celebrated time for everyone. If you have noticed your toenails arent looking as smooth and healthy as they used to, and you are too embarrassed to slip on your leather sandals this summer, perhaps there is something more serious going on.
Toenail fungus often goes unnoticed, especially in the elderly, as most people may think its just part of the aging process. However, toenail fungus is quite a common infection and is prevalent among both young and older adults.
This post looks at how to identify, treat, and prevent toenail fungus and how Yeargain Foot & Ankle can help you heal.
How Do I Know If My Toenail Fungus Has Cleared Up
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Scroll For Disturbing Toenail Fungus Pictures Below
The first symptom you may notice is a small white or yellow spot on the nail, this spot may be very small making it hard to notice. The small spot on the nail is the beginning stages of the fungal infection and with time will grow and progress to a much larger area, sometimes engulfing the whole nail. The lack of discomfort, and the use of nail polish in women, can allow this minor change to go by un-noticed.
Whos At Risk For Fungal Infections
There are many different causes of fungal nail infections. Each cause has a treatment of its own. Although many of the causes of a fungal nail infection are preventable, some risk factors increase the likelihood of developing one. Youre more likely to develop a fungal nail infection if you:
- wear closed-toe shoes, such as tennis shoes or boots
Nail infections occur more often in men than in women, and the infections are found in adults more often than in children. If you have family members who often get these types of fungal infections, youre more likely to get them as well.
Older adults have a high risk for getting fungal nail infections because they have poorer circulation. The nails also grow more slowly and thicken as we age.
A fungal infection of the nail may affect part of the nail, the entire nail, or several nails.
Common signs of a fungal nail infection include:
- a distorted nail that may lift off from the nail bed
- an odor coming from the infected nail
- a brittle or thickened nail
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Signs Of Toenail Fungus
A change in the toenails could indicate a fungus. Symptoms can include:
- Thickening of the nails
- Nails emanating a foul odor
- Change in coloration or texture
- Nail begins to crumble or feels brittle
- Feels painful
- Nail starts to separate from its bed
A first sign is usually a yellow or white spot underneath the tip of the nail. This spreads from there, going deeper and spreading to other toes.
What Happens To Your Fingernails When You Have Cancer
Many changes to nails that happen during cancer treatment can affect their appearance. For example, ridges or lines in your nails are not usually painful, but cause changes in how your nails look and feel. Once the treatment causing changes is done, the changes will usually go away over time as the nail grows out.
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Who Gets Toenail Fungus
Men are more likely to get it than women. The older you are, the better your chances are, too. People who have diabetes, athlete’s foot, or a weak immune system, who smoke, or whose family members have it are also at a higher risk. If you spend a lot of time in the water or you’ve injured your toenail, your odds for getting toenail fungus go up.
What Tests Might I Have For Toenail Fungus
Your provider will probably take a small sample from underneath your nail to further analyze it. Viewing the cells under a microscope can confirm a toenail fungus diagnosis. If the initial test is negative, a scraping can be sent to see if the fungus grows out in a culture. It also helps your provider identify the type of fungus.
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When To See Your Doctor
Anytime you think you have a fungal nail infection, or any nail problem, and treating it at home doesnât help, see your doctor or podiatrist . The sooner you go, the sooner your doctor can help.
Fungal nail infections can get worse over time. See your doctor if you notice your nail has turned brown or black, if it suddenly hurts, or if it pulls away from the nail bed.
If you have diabetes and you notice that the look of your toenails has changed even a little, see your doctor right away to prevent the problem from getting worse.
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What Causes Nail Fungus
Nail fungus occurs when fungi, yeast, or mold infect the skin. These types of infections are more likely to affect toenails than fingernails, and can be associated with athletes foot. Symptoms typically include white, brown, or yellow discoloration of the nail or thickening, cracking, and/or brittleness of the nail. If left untreated, the area of the infection can become painful.
There are several risk factors for developing nail fungus: tight shoes damaged nails walking barefoot in moist areas like swimming pools, saunas, and public showers poor blood circulation in your legs a weakened immune system and other skin conditions, such as psoriasis. You may even have a genetic predisposition to developing nail fungus.
Here at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle, well assess your specific case, perform tests to get to the bottom of the issue, and determine which treatment to provide you based on the test results.
Softening And Scraping Away The Nail
As it can take a long time for antifungal medication to work, some people may prefer to use a treatment that involves softening and removing infected parts of nail over a few weeks.
Treatment kits are available from pharmacies that contain a 40% urea paste, plasters and a scraping device. The paste softens the infected parts of the nail, allowing them to be scraped away so they can be gradually replaced with healthy nail.
To use the treatment:
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Fungal Nail Infection Symptoms
Because the toes and feet are often exposed to damp, warm areas, where the infection is spread, fungal nail infections affect the toes more than the fingers. Your feet are also more likely to be exposed to fungal infections if you:
- Spend time at swimming pools
- Walk around a lot in locker rooms
- Wear the same pair of damp, sweaty sneakers all the time
- Injure your toenail
At first, you may have no outward symptoms. But over time, your nails may:
- Have white spots appear on the surface
- Turn white, yellow, green or brown
- Grow thicker than normal or, in some cases, thinner than normal
- Become brittle, with broken or jagged edges
- Change shape, curling up or down
- Lift off of the nail bed
- Smell bad
- Cause you pain
What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Toenail Fungus
If you have toenail fungus, you may find it helpful to ask your provider:
- What type of infection do I have?
- Do you recommend I treat it? Why or why not?
- How long will I need treatment?
- What steps can I take to stop it from coming back?
- Should I be aware of any potentially serious complications or treatment side effects?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Toenail fungus is an incredibly common infection that can be difficult to treat. The condition usually isnt painful, but it may make you feel self-conscious about how your foot looks. If it bothers you, talk to your provider about your treatment options. A trained specialist can provide guidance on whats most likely to address your concerns while protecting your overall health.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.
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What Causes Scalp Infections / How Do Scalp Infections Happen
The main type of fungal infection on the scalp that can cause hair loss comes from a class of fungi called dermatophytesâwhich cause ringworm. Ringworm is an infection that can develop anywhere on the bodyâitâs also responsible for athleteâs foot and nail fungus. Also known as tinea capitis, ringworm normally starts out looking like a pimple on the scalp and then expands making the skin scaly and red. In fact, ringworm is often confused for dandruff, as the symptoms are similar.
Another form of fungal infection on the scalp is a scalp yeast infection. Yeast infections can form on or in any part of the bodyâ feet and fingernails are common victims. A scalp yeast infection, however, is caused by too much yeast on the scalp. A result of unbalanced conditions on the scalp, some common conditions that contribute to a scalp yeast infection are:
- Unhealthy diet
- Chemicals in hair products
What Are The Signs Of Nail Fungus
If you get nail fungus, youre likely to see one or more of the following changes to your nails:
Part of a nail turns white, yellow, brown, or another color. At first, you may just see a spot of discoloration at the tip of your nail. Without treatment, this discoloration may spread, covering more of the nail.
Debris builds up under the nail.
A nail begins to lift up, so its no longer firmly attached to the finger or toe.
A nail turns white, and the surface of the nail may feel soft, dry, and powdery. The nail also thins, so you may be able to scrape off the nail.
Nails thicken and turn yellow or brown, often this affects all of the fingernails.
A nail splits or crumbles.
Treatment is important
Without treatment, the fungus can spread and damage more nails.
Having nail fungus is usually painless. At least, its painless in the beginning. However, if you put off getting treatment, the fungus can grow. When the fungus worsens on toenails, wearing shoes can become painful.
If you see any changes to a nail, you should see a board-certified dermatologist. When caught early, nail fungus may clear with treatment applied to the nail. As the fungus grows, it becomes more difficult to clear the infection.
ImagesImages 1,2, and 3 used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 70:918-23.
Image 4 used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
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What Causes A Fungal Infection In The Feet
If your feet are damp or sweaty, fungi can take root under the nails of the toes. Common causes of toenail fungus include the dermatophyte fungus, mold, yeast, or simply athletes foot .
Additional factors can contribute to a toenail infection, such as trauma to the nail, lack of daily hygiene, and certain vascular diseases. If you regularly swim in a pool, the continual exposure to water can increase your risk of fungal exposure.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Youve heard the saying, now lets ensure it doesnt happen to you again:
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What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Toenail Fungus
The most effective toenail fungus treatment for you will largely depend on your symptoms and situation. Your provider will consider several factors before recommending a treatment plan thats customized to you.
Overall, oral antifungal medications may offer the most treatment potential. Pairing oral drugs with topical antifungal medication may make treatment more effective.
What Is The Outlook For Someone With Toenail Fungus
While toenail fungus is common, its usually not harmful. Symptoms mostly affect the look of your toenail.
Toenail fungus may spread to the skin between your toes or other areas of your body. When getting dressed, put your socks on first to reduce the chance of spread.
Treating toenail fungus takes a long time, and it doesnt always work. Even then, toenail fungus often returns. Discuss the pros and cons of treating toenail fungus with your provider to determine whats best for you.
Practicing good hygiene and foot care reduces the chance toenail fungus will come back. If you have diabetes, getting regular foot exams may help you address foot problems before they get serious.
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How To Know If You Have Nail Fungus
This article was medically reviewed by Neal Blitz, DPM, FACFAS. Dr. Neal Blitz is a Podiatrist and Foot & Ankle Surgeon who runs private practices in New York City and in Beverly Hills, California. Dr. Blitz is The Bunion King® and is the creator of the Bunionplasty® Procedure which has revolutionized bunion surgery. He has over 17 years of podiatric experience and specializes in minimally invasive foot and ankle surgery. Dr. Blitz received his DPM from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine, then completed a residency focused on Elective & Reconstructive Foot & Ankle Surgery at the Swedish Medical Center, and was awarded an AO Trauma fellowship in Dresden, Germany, focused on trauma and reconstructive techniques. He is board certified in Foot Surgery and Reconstructive Rearfoot & Ankle Surgery and is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons .There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 179,244 times.
What If I Have Later Stages Of Toenail Fungus
If your nails have already reached the thick, crumbly, majorly discolored stage, dont fret. Your case is not hopeless!
Toenail fungus can actually be quite complex, but our experts will take the time to carefully examine your condition, assess both the type and severity of the disease, and then recommend a precisely tailored treatment plan we feel will give you the optimal chance of clearing the fungus. One particular treatment method were particularly proud to be able to offer is laser treatment.
Laser treatment is able to pass through nail tissue and hit a fungal infection right at the source. Topical medications, on the other hand, can have more trouble reaching the underlying infection. And oral anti-fungal medications, while able to treat the problem from the inside out, can sometimes come with side effects that dont make them recommended for certain patients.
A course of laser treatment typically requires 3-4 sessions spaced out over a period of weeks or months, depending on the severity of the condition. These sessions dont cause any burning and rarely cause any pain most patients will feel a warming sensation and nothing more.
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