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How Do You Treat Nail Fungus

Below Is A Guide To Other Foot Problems That Affect Dogs

How to Cure Nail Fungus

Interdigital eczemza is an infection that occurs on the feet and toes. Dogs have a tendency to lick their feet if the feet become injured or a foreign object gets stuck in the foot . Unfortunately the constant licking makes the foot really wet leading to an infection in-between the foot pads.

As the infection takes hold all this is does is to perpetuate the situation as the pain causes the affected dog to continue licking the affected area. If this continues the dog will become lame. The normal treatment for interdigital eczema will involve the vet clipping any hair, cleaning the affected area and then removing any foreign object . The area will also need to be bandaged to stop the dog from licking the injured foot. The vet may also prescribe anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medicated cream.

Interdigital cysts are another problem that can affect a variety of breeds including Bull Terriers and Dobermanns. The cysts develop in-between the toes and can burst spontaneously and can lead to lameness. Treatment for this condition may involve the cysts being lanced and then anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drugs prescribed. The cysts may also need surgery. It is also thought that breeds that have less space in-between their toes can cause this problem due to the constant friction when walking.

Nail Removal Home Remedies And Laser Treatment

In the most serious instances of toenail fungus infection, the toenail may be removed surgically or dissolved with acid. This can be done to just a portion of the nail in the hope that the remaining nail will grow back healthy. In cases where the entire toenail has to be removed, artificial nails and products using light-cured resins to form a temporary covering can be used to protect the underlying tissue until the nail grows back.

If you prefer to go the home-remedy route, such as applying tea tree oil or Vicks VapoRub to your nails, keep in mind that the effectiveness of these products for treating toenail fungus hasn’t been well studied, and they are not recommended by podiatrists.

Finally, the Food and Drug Administration has approved several laser devices for temporary increase in clear nails in patients with onychomycosis. But while laser treatments are vigorously marketed, clinical trials of lasers have reported mixed results, and the treatments may not be covered by health insurance. If you wish to try laser treatment of toenail fungus, speak to your doctor about what to expect from the treatment, and call your insurance carrier to find out whether the treatment will be covered.

Additional reporting by Susan Jara.

Know It May Have To Be Permanent

At this point, if he or she has not discussed this with you earlier, the doctor may recommend that you have the nail permanently prevented from growing back. This is only done in severe cases of fungus or other disorders where the problem would simply keep occurring if the nail grew back.

To do this, the doctor must destroy the nail matrix, which is the part of the toe that produces keratin, the element that toenails are made of.

The matrix can be dissolved chemically, which is the most common. This is called chemical cauterization, and involves the application of a chemical called phenol. Occasionally, some patients report their nails growing back, but generally this method is effective.

If this does not work, your doctor will perform a surgical matrixectomy. A flap of skin is surgically created at the base of the nail, where the matrix is located. After retracting the flap, the matrix is surgically removed.

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Staying One Step Ahead Of Toenail Fungus

An established fungal infection is hard to eradicate, but you can stop its spread and improve your toenail’s appearance.

Toenail fungus isn’t a pressing health problem. Yet a fungal infection can ruin the appearance of your nails and cause pain as it lifts the nail away from the nail bed. And fungal infections are notoriously difficult to get rid of. “You may want to consider fungal toenail a condition to be managed rather than cured,” says Dr. James P. Ioli, chief of the podiatry service at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

How Effective Are Topical Treatments

How to Treat Toenail Fungus?

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.

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Side Effects Of Toenail Fungus Medication

One of the many benefits of using a homeopathic remedy is that there are little to no adverse side effects. Topical treatments often prescribed to treat toenail fungus can potentially burn or blister the skin. Oral medications for treating onychomycosis can cause liver or gastrointestinal damage. Be sure to read your medications list of potential side effects. Consult your pharmacist, physician, or specialist if you are concerned about side effects of prescription drugs.

Prevention And Treatment Of Toenail Fungus

Once its taken hold, toenail fungus can be hard to kick. Here are some techniques for the prevention and treatment of toenail fungus.

Anyone who enjoys wearing open-toed sandals in the summer knows how good it feels to have healthy-looking toenails. But good looks arent the only reason to keep your toenails in top shape. Fungal infections of the toenails also known as onychomycosis don’t go away on their own, and if left untreated, the fungus will spread and can eventually destroy the nail.

If you have comprised blood flow, theres even more reason to safeguard your toenails, since youll have trouble healing, says Ami Sheth, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Los Gatos, California, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. And once you have a wound, you can get fungal skin infections, which can lead to a subsequent bacterial infection if the skin breaks down, notes Dr. Sheth.

However, because toenail fungal infections are typically painless, people are often unaware that they have a problem unless they are inspecting their feet regularly.

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What Are The Clinical Features Of Onychomycosis

Onychomycosis may affect one or more toenails and fingernails and most often involves the great toenail or the little toenail. It can present in one or several different patterns.

  • Lateral onychomycosis a white or yellow opaque streak appears at one side of the nail.
  • Subungualhyperkeratosis scaling occurs under the nail.
  • Distalonycholysis the end of the nail lifts. The free edge often crumbles.
  • Superficial white onychomycosis flaky white patches and pits appear on the top of the nail plate.
  • Proximal onychomycosis yellow spots appear in the half-moon .
  • Onychoma or dermatophytoma a thick localised area of infection in the nail plate.
  • Destruction of the nail.

Tinea unguium often results from untreated tinea pedis or tinea manuum . It may follow an injury to the nail or inflammatory disease of the nail.

Candida infection of the nail plate generally results from paronychia and starts near the nail fold . The nail fold is swollen and red, lifted off the nail plate. White, yellow, green or black marks appear on the nearby nail and spread. The nail may lift off its bed and is tender if you press on it.

Mould infections are similar in appearance to tinea unguium.

Onychomycosis must be distinguished from other nail disorders.

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What Are Treatments For Toenail Fungus

Do you need to treat your nail fungus? Maybe it doesn’t hurt, and the yellow, thick nails don’t bother you.

But nail fungus doesn’t go away by itself. And if you don’t treat it, there’s a chance it could get worse. It could spread to other nails or through your body. It could cause pain when you walk.

There are a number of ways to take care of it, including:

Nonprescription options. You can buy antifungal creams, gels, and nail polish at the store and online without a prescription. You might want to try one of them first if the infection doesn’t look bad. Some people also swear by home remedies like menthol rub, tea tree oil, mouthwash, or snakeroot extract — but studies show mixed results.

Prescription polish and creams. Your foot doctor will likely trim your nail and file away its dead layers. They may also take a piece of your nail and send it to the lab to make sure itâs really a fungus and to find out what type it is.

The doctor might suggest an antifungal drug that you paint on your nails. This may work on its own, or they may suggest you take it with antifungal pills.

Prescription medications. One of several antifungal pills may help. They work, but it may take many months to do the job. They also come with side effects like nausea, vomiting, and headaches. They may cause liver damage too, so your doctor will watch you closely while you take them. Be sure to tell them about any other meds youâre taking — some antifungal pills might not work well with them.

Does Tea Tree Oil Work

Results from scientific studies supporting the use of tea tree oil to treat nail fungus are mixed. Some of the research points to tea tree oils potential as an antifungal, but more studies are needed.

According to a 2013 study, tea tree oil was effective in reducing growth of the fungus Trichophyton rubrum in nail infections. T. rubrum is a fungus that can cause infections such as athletes foot and nail fungus. Improvements were seen after 14 days.

This study used an in vitro model, which is sometimes called a test-tube experiment. In in vitro studies, the experiment is done in a test tube instead of on an animal or human. Larger human studies are needed to expand on these findings.

Combining tea tree oil with standard medicated creams is also an option. A small 1999 study found that participants were able to successfully manage toenail fungus by using a cream that contained butenafine hydrochloride and tea tree oil.

After 16 weeks of treatment, 80 percent of participants who used this cream cured their toenail fungus with no relapses. No one in the placebo group cured their nail fungus. Further studies are needed to determine which of these ingredients is most useful in treating nail fungus.

Results of a 1994 study found pure tea tree oil was equally as effective as the antifungal clotrimazole in treating fungal toenail infections. Clotrimazole is available both over the counter and by prescription.

Even with diluted tea tree oil, always do a skin patch test before use:

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How To Prevent Toenail Fungus

Because fungi are everywhere , they can be present months before they find opportunities to strike and before signs of infection appear. By following certain precautions, including proper hygiene and regular inspection of the feet and toes, chances of the problem occurring can be significantly reduced.

  • Regularly clean and dry feet to resist disease. Follow a strict regimen of washing the feet with soap and water.
  • Change socks and hosiery daily and change out shoes on a regular basis.
  • Clip toenails straight across so the nail doesnt extend beyond the tip of your finger or toenails.
  • Wear socks that are made of synthetic fiber to wick away moisture. Cotton and wool socks dont wick away moisture as fast as synthetic fiber does. This can be helpful in denying a hospitable environment for the fungi to grow in.

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Other Oral Medications That Are Available To Treat Toenail Fungus

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Oral fluconazole for toenail fungus treatment

Oral fluconazole is another pill sometimes used to treat toenail fungus. But its not a great alternative to terbinafine and itraconazole. Its not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this use, and it doesnt work as well in head-to-head comparisons. Not only that, it needs to be taken once a week for at least 3 to 6 months.

Noxafil for toenail fungus treatment

A new medication used in the treatment of toenail fungus is posaconazole , a liquid taken by mouth. Noxafil appears to be an effective option, but the cost makes it difficult for anyone to afford.

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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:

When To Refer To Podiatry

Before initiating topical or oral therapy, patients should ideally be referred to a podiatrist for nail trimming and debridement. This assists with removing as much fungus as possible and improves topical drug penetration. Debridement alone cannot be recommended for the treatment of OM patients using a combination of debridement and topical nail lacquer have shown a significant improvement in mycological cure compared with debridement only. Patients with nail trauma owing to footwear, dystrophic toenails affecting other toes or who describe discomfort when walking owing to thickened toenails should also be referred.

When there is treatment failure with topical, oral and combination therapies, a podiatrist may be able to carry out a chemical or surgical nail avulsion .

If there is doubt over the original diagnosis, or where no improvement has been seen with treatment, pharmacists should refer patients to a podiatrist or their GP.

Supported by RB

RB provided financial support in the production of this content.

The authors were paid by The Pharmaceutical Journal to write this article and full editorial control was maintained by the journal at all times.

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How To Diagnose Yellow Nail Syndrome

You shouldnt ignore a change in nail color or shape, especially if your nails turn yellow. Yellow nails can indicate a problem with your liver or kidney, diabetes mellitus, fungal infections, or psoriasis, which need to be treated by a doctor.

If you develop yellow nails along with swelling or respiratory problems, see a doctor.

A doctor may diagnose yellow nail syndrome if you exhibit primary symptoms of the condition. Your doctor may also order a pulmonary function test to measure how well your lungs work or take a sample of your nail to check for fungus.

When Are The Different Treatments Considered

How to Treat Nail Fungus Naturally

Most doctors recommend treating nail fungus with nail polish or cream if

  • not much more than half of the nail is affected by the fungus,
  • the base of the nail is not infected, and
  • only some nails are affected.

Topical treatment is also usually recommended for children. One reason for this is that most oral medications arent suitable for children. Another reason is that children have thinner nails that grow more quickly, so its assumed that treatment with nail polish or creams is more likely to work in children than in adults. White superficial onychomycosis is also often treated with a nail polish or cream.

If several nails are infected by the fungus, or if the infection has spread out more on the affected nails, its usually necessary to take oral medication. And if the infection started at the base of the nail, its highly likely that only tablets will help.

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