How Contagious Is Toenail Fungus
It can only be contagious if youre exposed to the fungus and have a crack in your nail, or if your nail separates from the nailbed. Under those circumstances, the fungus could penetrate down to the nailbed and spread.
If you get a pedicure, its best not to have your cuticles cut or pushed back. That can allow fungus and bacteria to get behind the nail. Before getting the pedicure, ask to make sure the nail files and other instruments are sterilized between customers.
Also, never share shoes. Fungus lives inside everyones shoes where its dark and damp, the perfect environment for fungus to grow.
How Effective Are Topical Treatments
So far, only a few studies have looked into topical nail fungus treatments with nail polishes or creams. Because these studies had weaknesses, the results should be interpreted with caution. Amorolfine has not yet been well studied. Ciclopirox polish and treatment sets with urea and bifonazole cream were tested in a few studies.
Research on the effectiveness of nail polish containing ciclopirox showed that, after one year:
- About 10 out of 100 people who did not use ciclopirox no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
- About 32 out of 100 people who used ciclopirox no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
In other words, treatment with ciclopirox got rid of the fungal infection in about 22 out of 100 people. But even if the fungus had gone away, the cosmetic result wasnt always satisfying. The nails only looked healthy after treatment in 7 out of 100 people.
Treatment with sets containing urea and bifonazole cream was tested in one study. It was compared with a treatment in which only urea cream was applied and the nail was removed, but without applying bifonazole cream afterwards. Three months after treatment was completed, it was found that:
- No fungus was visible or detectable in about 41 out of 100 people who only used urea cream.
- No fungus was visible or detectable in about 51 out of 100 people who used both urea and bifonazole cream.
Baking Soda For Toenail Fungus
People have used Sodium bicarbonate for centuries.
It is a substance that can help us with various conditions, not only with fungus. However, it is especially useful when it comes to skin and nail conditions due to its antifungal and antiseptic properties.
NaHCO is great as it exfoliates surface skin, which in turn destroys layers of fungus located on them. But, that is only a small reason why people use baking soda for toenail fungus. Its alkaline properties are much more important. Sodium bicarbonate creates an acidic environment making it quite hard for fungus to survive.
Baking soda also helps balance the pH level of the surrounding skin. That way, spores are no longer able to reproduce and inhabit the surrounding areas. This localizes the issue, making it easier to eradicate later on.
Another great benefit lies in soda’s ability to absorb moisture. Again, your feet need to be dry at all times. Toenail fungus will affect the whole toenail but is especially persistent beneath them. This area is really hard to dry, unlike surface nail, making it easier for fungus to inhabit. Baking soda effectively puts a stop to it. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should stop paying attention to whether or not your feet are dry. You will also have to do your part in eradicating this nasty condition.
Obviously, there are a lot of pros that should at least persuade you to try it.
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What Can I Expect If I Have A 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 healthcare 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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When Should I Consult My Doctor About Toenail Fungus
Anyone with toenail fungus can try home remedies or OTC treatments, but some prefer to go right to their healthcare provider for a more aggressive treatment with prescription medication.
People with certain conditions, such as a compromised immune system, diabetes, or circulation problems, should see their doctor for toenail fungus. Anyone with signs of infection, such as pain, redness, or pus around the toenail, should seek medical care. People who have used home remedies or OTC treatments without success should also see their doctor.
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What Is Tinea Unguium
When a dermatophyte causes toenail fungus, the condition is called tinea unguium. A dermatophyte is a mold that needs a protein called keratin to grow. Keratin is the main structural material of your nails that makes them hard. Dermatophytes cause 90% of toenail fungal infections. Tinea unguium is also known as onychomycosis.
What Causes Yellow Toenails
Healthy nails are usually clear in color and dont have any major issues like cracks, indentations, ridges, or abnormal shapes. If your toenails are turning yellow, it could be a result of something less serious, like aging or nail polish. Or it could be due to a more serious issue, like an infection.
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How Long Does It Take To Cure Nail Fungus
When it comes to nail fungus, its important to differentiate between the time it take to treat or cure it versus the time it takes for a new, healthy nail to fully emerge.
It usually takes a few weeks to a few months to eradicate the underlying infection. This is most frequently accomplished by a combination of topical and oral antifungal medications. Because the fungus is protected from topical medications via the nail plate, and semi-protected from oral medications due to toes receiving limited circulation, the process is a bit slower than it might be for other areas of the body.
However, its important to remember that killing the fungus wont repair a nail that has already been damaged by it. Unfortunately, youll have to wait for it to grow out naturally, which could take several months.
While the full recovery period may be lengthy, it shouldnt discourage you! In time, a healthy and clear nail may grow in and return, bringing long-awaited relief and peace of mind. Get started on your treatment by calling Family Foot & Ankle Center at 689-3317 today.
Treatments For Yellow Toenails
In most cases, yellow toenails are treatable. There are some medications and home remedies that might help cure yellow toenails or help lighten the yellow color. What treatment your doctor recommends will depend on whats causing the yellow nails.
For example, if your yellow toenails are being caused by a fungal infection, youll need antifungal medication to treat it. One of the most common prescription antifungal medications is ciclopirox 8 percent solution, which is applied to the nails like nail polish.
Other medications that can help cure yellow toenails include applying vitamin E, zinc, and a topical corticosteroid with Vitamin D-3.
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Can Thick Toenails Be Prevented
You can reduce the risk of thick toenails or the recurrence of toenail fungus in several ways:
- Keep your feet clean by washing them with soap and water regularly. Dry them off with a towel afterward.
- Keep your feet as dry as possible: Change your socks a few times a day, wear cotton socks that remove moisture from your feet, rotate your shoes so they can dry out, and purchase shoes that breathe and dont constrict your feet.
- Try a foot powder that keeps your feet dry.
- Wear flip-flops or other shower shoes when you are in locker rooms or at the pool.
- Groom your feet properly.
- Make sure to use disinfected tools when trimming your nails.
- Purchase new footwear if your nail fungus has recently been cured.
Tips To Prevent Fungal Nail Infections
Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent a fungal infection of the nails. Taking good care of your nails by keeping them well trimmed and clean is a good way to prevent infections.
Also avoid injuring the skin around your nails. If youre going to have damp or wet hands for an extended amount of time, you may want to wear rubber gloves.
Other ways to prevent fungal infections of the nails include:
- washing your hands after touching infected nails
- drying your feet well after showering, especially between your toes
- getting manicures or pedicures from trustworthy salons
- avoiding being barefoot in public places
- reducing your use of artificial nails and nail polish
Products to help you avoid nail fungus
If youre prone to excessive moisture around your fingernails or toenails, consider buying:
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Clean Socks And Shoes
Regularly changing your socks and shoes can also cut down on the growth of unwanted foot fungus. Both socks and athletic shoes can be washed to rid the growth of yeasts and fungi that may be growing on the fabric. Adding a half-cup of baking soda or one cup of vinegar to the washing machine can help eliminate bacteria or fungus on socks or shoes. Some shoes can be machine dried. Drying shoes in the sun is another option when cleaning footwear, but make sure they are completely dry before wearing them again.
Boots and other footwear that are not machine washable could be wiped out with a vinegar and water solution or sprayed with an over-the-counter antifungal spray. Medicated powders are also helpful in treating shoes for foot fungus.
Allowing the feet to breathe by taking off shoes and socks when possible can prevent fungal growth. Protect your feet by wearing breathable footwear and clean, dry socks. Antimicrobial socks and shoes made from bamboo, copper, or specialty fabrics are also available. They can help reduce unwanted bacteria and yeast from growing in your footwear.
A proactive approach to keeping your feet clean and dry can prevent the spread of toenail fungus. You can wash or soak feet with warm soapy water or a foot bath using everyday household items. Soaking your feet in an all-natural, homeopathic concoction can be beneficial in reducing or eliminating toenail fungus.
Making A Vinegar Soak
If you want to try treating your nail fungus with vinegar, then the best thing to do is soak your foot in a vinegar-water mixture. Diluting the vinegar is important to prevent it from irritating your skin. Try a daily soak and see if it helps clear the infection. If not, then don’t panic. You can still use more conventional treatments.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
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 your toenail.
- A weakened immune system.
Why Does Vinegar Soak Work
The idea behind taking a vinegar foot soak for toenail fungus is relatively simple: vinegar is acidic, which gives it antifungal and antibacterial properties.
To explain a bit further, vinegar is a diluted form of acetic acid . As a result, it is an antifungal agent meaning it slows down the growth of some types of foot fungus and may kill fungus entirely.
It might also make your body less hospitable to fungus because the acidity affects the pH level of your skin. This makes fungal overgrowth and infection much more unlikely.
Its worth noting though, that there is no scientific evidence that shows vinegar soaks is a reliable method for treating toenail fungus.
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Toenail Fungus Treatment Complications
Here are some things to think about when deciding on a nail fungus treatment.
If you have a disease like diabetes, your doctor will make sure you treat nail fungus. This illness often makes you more likely to have other problems from minor foot issues.
You may not be able to take antifungal pills because of side effects or because they donât work well with other drugs you take. If that’s the case, try a product that goes onto your nail. Your doctor will call this a topical treatment.
Be patient. Your nails may not look “normal” after treatment. It can take as long as a year to 18 months for your nail to grow out a fungus.
Toenail Fungus Home Care
Sometimes itâs possible to treat your toenail fungus at home. You can try:
- Over the counter antifungal creams or ointments. File or cut off any white markings on your nails. Soak your nails in water and dry off before you put on the medicated cream.
- Special nail care. If you keep your nails trimmed, it can reduce the pressure and pain you feel. You can also thin your nail bed by filing it down. This can help antifungal creams get to the problem easier.
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When To See A Doctor
In most cases, toenail fungus is considered a cosmetic problem. Still, it may cause serious complications for some people.
If you have diabetes, toenail fungus may lead to foot ulcers or other foot problems. According to a 2012 study, chronic toenail fungus is a significant risk factor for bacterial cellulitis of the leg.
If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, you shouldnt use home remedies for toenail fungus. Contact your doctor for the appropriate course of action.
How Can I Prevent Toenail Fungus
Fungal nail infections develop when the feet are constantly warm and damp. Steps you can take to help prevent toenail fungus include the following:
- Keep your feet clean and dry
- Wear clean socks every day
- Avoid wearing shoes that make your feet hot and sweaty
- Avoid going barefoot in communal areas, such as public showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools
- Do not tear or rip your toenails
- Soak your toenails in warm water before cutting them to avoid trauma due to accidental or aggressive clipping
- Clean your nail trimmer before using it
- Do not share towels, shoes, nail clippers or scissors
- If you have diabetes, follow all foot care recommendations from your doctor
- Treat the athlete’s foot as soon as possible to stop it from spreading to the nails
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Other Options For Toenail Fungus Infections
Removal of the toenail is only used when just one nail is infected, but it does work. Light therapy and lasers are also being studied as possible toenail fungus treatments. Laser therapy has shown promise when combined with oral or topical antifungals. A multicenter trial investigating the efficacy of a device, the Pinpointe FootLaser, is currently underway, so stay tuned to that.
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Keep After Your Feet Even If It Looks Like The Fungus Is Gone
The same fungus that causes athletes foot is the one that will infect the nails. So after youve treated the fungus and it looks like its out, the patient still has a lot of responsibility, Dr. Lipner says. You need to make sure it doesnt come back by applying an antifungal producta basic athletes foot productto your feet daily. If you get the fungus invading your feet, youll probably get it back in your nails, too. Apply an antifungal cream, spray, or powder to the shoes or the feet daily, she says. To some people, its a habit like brushing your teeth. For others, getting them to do it is like pulling teeth.
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