About Fungal Nail Infection
Many people develop a fungal nail infection at some point in their life. It’s not usually serious, but can be unpleasant and difficult to treat.
The infection develops slowly and causes the nail to become discoloured, thickened and distorted.
Toenails are more frequently affected than the fingernails.
The medical name for a fungal nail infection is onychomycosis.
Nail Fungus: Polish Cream Or Tablets
Nail fungus can be very persistent. Topical treatment with nail polish may take up to one year. Tablets for treating fungal nail infections usually have to be taken for several weeks or months. They are much more effective than topical treatments, but they have more side effects.
Brittle nails and a whitish-yellowish or brownish discoloration are typical signs of nail fungus. The nails may also become thicker and change shape. The affected part of the nail sometimes detaches from the nail bed. The treatment options for nail fungus include nail polishes and creams as well as tablets. Nail polishes and creams are available in pharmacies without a prescription.
What Is The Prognosis Of Fungal Nails
Curing fungal nails can be difficult and treatment can take up to 18 months. Relapse and reinfection are common. Trying to remove or modify your risk factors, if possible, is essential to preventing reinfection. People who have medical illnesses that predispose them to fungal nails can have an even more difficult time eradicating the fungus.
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Whats The Best Way To Care For A Nail Thats Fallen Off Or Damaged
Here are tips for how to care for a damaged nail, and speed the healing process:
- Apply a cold compress for up to 20 minutes to reduce swelling and inflammation. Wrap a cloth over an ice pack before applying to your skin.
- Keep your nail elevated. This reduces blood flow to the injury, which can decrease swelling and bruising.
- Take biotin supplements. These supplements promote cell growth, and help your body metabolize protein-building amino acids, thus contributing to faster nail growth.
- Keep the wound dry and covered. The skin underneath your toenail is sensitive. Clean and dry your nail bed daily and cover it with a bandage. Change the bandage once a day.
- Apply antibiotic ointment to the damaged nail to prevent infection.
- If it hasnt already, try to keep the nail in place until it is ready to fall off. This provides extra protection to the nail bed underneath.
The Danger Of Waiting To Treat The Fungus
The greatest danger of not treating the foot or toenail fungus is that it can spread to other parts of the body, such as the hands and groin.
If for some reason you cant treat your toenails or your feet right away, at least use an antifungal topical cream on the surrounding skin, Dr. Ng says. That will help keep it from spreading and keep the skin intact.
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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.
Diagnosis For Toenail Fungus
Proper diagnosis of toenail fungus may be necessary because there are other health problems that may manifest the similar signs and symptoms. Equally, an underlying health issue such as athletes or diabetes foot might be associated with the fungus toenail.
Diagnosis may is especially necessary if the fungal toenail infection is persistent or worsens with time. To get rid of the infection, you will need to treat the toenail fungus as well as all the underlying health problems.
A dermatologist diagnoses toenail fungus by physically examining your toenails and nearby skin. The dermatologist may carry out a further test that entails collecting debris from the affected toenail for a lab examination. It might also be necessary for the doctor to test for suspicious underlying health conditions like diabetes and poor immune system.
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The Dangers Of Ignoring Toenail Fungal Infections
Even a minor discoloration can be a sign of toenail fungus and worthy of a doctor visit. Find out why and how to get help for symptoms of toenail fungus.
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With all the serious health dangers out there, like cancer and diabetes, having a yellowed nail from toenail fungus can seem pretty insignificant. Since toenail fungus usually isnt painful, many people put off seeking treatment, says Peter Joseph, DPM, a podiatrist with Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh. While many people are otherwise healthy and may just think of it as a cosmetic problem, ignoring a toenail infected with fungus could have health consequences beyond appearances. Potential complications of a toenail fungal infection:
Foot pain. Over time, a nail infected with fungus can become thick and misshapen, causing pain, Dr. Joseph says. It can even make it difficult to walk when wearing shoes, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Treating Symptoms of Toenail Fungus
If you suspect you have a toenail fungal infection, see a doctor, Joseph says. Your doctor may take a small sample from your toenail and have it analyzed to confirm the presence of a fungus. If the test comes back positive, an oral or topical antifungal medication may be prescribed to help treat the fungus. Most medications are well tolerated with few side effects, Joseph says.
Toe Or Toenail Injury
If you stub your toe hard, you may drive the nail into the soft tissue surrounding it, which can cause it to become infected.
You can also create problems by trimming your nails too short near the edges, which can allow them to grow down into the fleshy part of your toe.
If you cut your nails so closely that you create a raw spot, this wound can also become infected.
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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.
What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
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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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Can I Wear Nail Polish If I Have Toenail Fungus
You may feel tempted to cover up a discolored toenail with nail polish. If you are using a topical antifungal, you probably should not use polish. Some providers may tell you not to wear it in any case. Polish traps in moisture from the nailbed . Because fungi thrive in moist environments, wearing nail polish may make a fungal infection worse. However, the nail continues to grow with or without polish.
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What Are The Most Effective Treatments For Toenail Fungus
The experts at Easton Dermatology Associates offer treatment customized to your exact situation, whether youve just noticed an irregularity with your toenail or youve been battling fungus for a while. Treatment options include:
- Prescription oral antifungal medications
- Topical nail cream
- Special antifungal nail polish that allows your nails to breathe
No matter what treatment you adopt, patience is key. It can take several months to clear up toenail fungus because even nails that grow at an average rate dont grow rapidly. We treat your fungus until its a thing of the past, and we also advise you on how to prevent a recurrence.;
Its much easier to solve the problem when youre in the early stages of infection, before it becomes too advanced.;
Do at either of our locations in Easton or Salisbury, Maryland, so we can start helping you eliminate embarrassing and persistent nail fungus problems ASAP. When next summer rolls around, you can be back in those oh-so-chic sandals!
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Medical Complications From Untreated Fungal Toenail Infection
Without proper treatment to stop your toenail fungal infection from getting worse, or spreading, complications will eventually develop.; Fungal infections of; your toenail can spread to the surrounding skin and when your skin becomes cracked, bacteria can enter and cause an abscess.;
An abscess on the toe is a tender mass generally surrounded by a colored area from pink to deep red.; They are often easy to feel by touching.; Inside they are full of pus, bacteria and debris.
Untreated toenail fungal infections can lead to cellulitis and should be treated immediately with antibiotics.; Untreated skin infections of the toe may lead to severe cellulitis and if the infection enters the bloodstream it can become septicemia, also known as bacteremia or blood poisoning.; Once the infection enters the bloodstream the bacteria and their toxins are carried through the bloodstream to your entire body.; If the bacteria levels become high enough, septicemia can quickly become life threatening.
A good reason to seek treatment if you suspect you have a toenail fungal infection is because of the similarity of symptoms for differing diagnosis of more serious toenail conditions.;;You may have a toenail fungus, but you could also be experiencing similar symptoms of a toenail viral infection , complications from toenail trauma, a pre-malignant lesion or, more seriously, melanoma of the nail bed.
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Cure Toenail Pain From Fungus Infection
Know The Symptoms And Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait to Seek Effective Treatment
A painful, thick, yellow, green, brown or black toenail means you could have a toenail fungus infection.; If you have a toenail fungal infection it won’t go away on its own.; You can’t get rid of it with home remedies or over the counter topical treatments.;;Learn why, and how to cure it by reading more.
Toenail fungus is common and it can develop when dry, brittle nails develop cracks that allow fungus to enter the nail unit.;;A toenail fungus infection most often occurs when excessive moisture gets under your toenail and is trapped by your socks and shoes, allowing fungus to grow and thrive.;;Nail fungus can also be caused by yeast and mold.;
Left untreated toenail fungus can become a foot fungus, spreading from your toenail, to the skin in between your toes, your arch and the heel of your foot.
Scratching it or picking at it can also spread it to your fingers, and then to; other parts of your body.; You can also spread it to other people if you are sharing a shower or tub.
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 also be washed in hot water to rid the growth of yeasts and fungi that may be growing on the fabric. Some shoes can be machine dried. Drying shoes in the sun is another option when cleaning footwear.
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.
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 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.;
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What To Do With Your Toenail Fungus
Effective options exist and your medical professional will know which anti-fungal tablet, cream, spray, or liquid will work best on your infection. Lamasil, Jublia, and Sporanox are among the most widely prescribed, depending on a persons age and the type and severity of the fungal infection. All these treatment regimens work by encouraging new nail growth free of infection. Because the infected nail can be replaced only by the slow nail growth process, you must take these medications for six to 12 weeks, or longer.
Adopt good foot hygiene habits;
There are sensible precautions you can take to head off toenail;fungal infection, foot fungus and athletes foot in the first place or to prevent reinfection after successful treatment.
* Dont wear anyone elses socks or put on their shoes. Keep in mind that if they have a toenail;fungal infection, it will then likely become yours.
* Wash and thoroughly dry your feet daily, especially between the toes where moisture collects and where fungal spores may find a home.
* And those little boxes of disposable socks at the shoe store? Always put them on before you try on any pair of;shoes.
* Wear;flip-flops or shower shoes in locker rooms, around swimming pools, and in gym showers.
* Regularly use shoe sanitizer and anti-fungal;spray, as directed, to help guard against athletes foot and toenail;fungus;infection or reinfection.
When Your Toenail Fungus Is Not Going Away
Since the fungi have been living in your nail bed for a time before it started causing noticeable damage, it does take time for it to go away.; When you start to treat it, make sure that you follow the directions for the product.; It will take a while for the treatment to work, and longer for you to notice results.; Dont let this discourage you, though, because you can get rid of it.
Many times, when people use a treatment, they put socks and shoes on afterward.; The longer you can keep things off of your feet, the better.; Even if your foot is completely dry after treatment, the skin under the nail is still wet or damp.; If you put your nail in socks and shoes, the fungus will be able to grow again.
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Foot Fungus: Causes And Risk Factors
A foot fungus is a fungal infection of the skin, better known as athletes foot, says Sundling. The fungus enters through cracks in the skin. Its known as athletes foot because athletes or anyone who is more active and sweats a lot is more at risk. Kids are also more at risk, because they dont tend to wear different shoes, and changing your shoes is one way to avoid foot fungus.
Foot fungus is very common. It does not mean that someone is dirty or didnt bathe, and if you have a compromised immune system, you may be more susceptible, says Sundling.