How To Prevent Both Foot And Toenail Fungus
While toenail fungus and foot fungus arent the same condition, the following tips can help you prevent both, says Sundling:
- Practice good hygiene, such as keeping your feet clean.
- Alternate your shoes during the week. Your feet sweat all day long. Alternating your shoes allows them to dry out, so the fungus cant survive.
- Wear moisture-wicking socks that help dry out shoes and kill fungus. You can find these at running stores and athletic stores. If your socks are exceptionally sweaty, changing them more than once per day can help.
- Wear shoes in public places like locker rooms, pools, and gyms to limit exposure to fungus.
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.
Dangers Of Using Bleach For Toenail Fungus
Bleach may actually cause toenail fungus to worsen and increase the likelihood of a toenail infection.
According to an article in the Asian Journal of Research in Dermatological Science, use of topical bleach can increase the risks for fungal infections because it can damage the skin and nails. This allows opportunistic fungus to come in through the damaged skin or nail and cause an infection.
Read Also: How To Whiten Yellow Nails
Signs And Symptoms Of A Fungal Nail Infection
A fungal nail infection may not cause any obvious symptoms at first.
As it progresses, the infection can cause:
- discolouration of the nail it may turn white, black, yellow or green
- thickening and distortion of the nail it may become an unusual shape or texture and be difficult to trim
- pain or discomfort particularly when using or placing pressure on the affected toe or finger
- brittle or crumbly nails pieces may break off and come away completely
Sometimes the skin nearby may also become infected and be itchy and cracked or red and swollen.
How To Get Rid Of Toenail Fungus With Home Remedies
While some may scoff at the good old home remedy, there is something to be said for the tried and true treatments handed down from our grandparents. Toenail fungus, like many other issues, is not a new problem and it stands to reason there were workable solutions before over the counter medications were available. So, lets look first at how to get rid of toenail fungus with home remedies. This list is far from being complete but the chosen remedies illustrate well this approach.
Baking Soda and Borax Both of these ingredients have been available from local retailers for a generation or better. They are used in a variety of home recipes including a treatment for toenail fungus. Mix equal parts of these powders with just enough water to create a paste, soak your feet to soften the nail and then apply baking powder borax paste to toenails.
Peroxide Good for cleaning a multitude of scrapes and mishaps, hydrogen peroxide is also a great home remedy treatment for nail fungus. Toenail fungus is anaerobic, which means it is not overly fond of oxygen, making peroxide a natural treatment option. Simply soak your nails twice per day in a 3% solution for at least two weeks. You can also brush the solution directly on your nail, full strength if you prefer.
Don’t Miss: How To Prep Nails For Gel Polish
Nail Fungus Consumer Review
Toenail fungus is probably one of the most dreaded infections, because even though it is not life threatening, it can be very unsightly and treatment tends to take an extended period of time. Of course, people affected by toenail fungus dont want to wait so long. They want to know how to get rid of toenail fungus fast. Is it possible?
Read on to discover the necessary steps and the best options you have to get rid of toenail fungus as fast as possible.
What Causes Toenail Fungus
As I mentioned above, toenail fungus is often a sign of an underlying infection such as Candida overgrowth. However, plenty of environmental and lifestyle factors can contribute to toenail fungus. Bad bacteria can enter your body via cuts that occur on the skin surrounding your toenail, or in the separation between the nail and toe. Habits such as wearing sweaty socks or tight-fitting closed-toes shoes for a prolonged period of time can also contribute to your toenail fungus.4
If you live in a hot, humid climate, or spend a lot of time in the water, your chances of getting toenail fungus increases. A good rule of thumb for avoiding toenail fungus is to keep your feet as cool, clean, and dry as possible.
Also Check: How To Get Nail Technician License
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.
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.
Read Also: How To Get Black Nail Polish Out Of Carpet
How Long Does It Take To Recover
You need to be consistent with the treatment in order to see results. It usually takes a few months for the nail to heal completely. Healing time depends on how severe the infection is and how quickly your body responds to the treatment.
The fungal infection is cured when youve grown an entirely new nail thats free from infection.
You can continue the tea tree oil treatment after the nail has healed to ensure that the nail fungus doesnt return.
Its important that you use a high-quality tea tree oil for best results. Here are some things to look for when buying tea tree oil:
- The oil needs to be 100 percent pure.
- Buy an organic oil, if possible.
- Look for a tea tree oil that has a 10 to 40 percent concentration of terpinen. This is one of the main antiseptic and antifungal components of tea tree oil.
You can buy tea tree oil online or at a local health store. Always buy from a brand that you trust. The supplier should be able to answer any questions you have about their product.
Research your brands and manufacturers. Essential oils can have issues with purity, contamination, and strength. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration doesnt regulate essential oils, so its important to purchase from a supplier you trust.
How Candida Becomes A Whole
Now you may be wondering, how does Candida become a fungal infection? Pathogenic fungi such as Candida have evolved to survive in a human host through morphogenesis, meaning they can change their cell shape and size.8
Candida in particular changes from a rounded cell to an elongated hyphal cell. These elongated hyphal cells can then permeate your gut lining, leading the gut to become leaky. A leaky gut allows the yeast to escape your gut via your bloodstream and colonize other areas of your body, including your toenails and fingernails.
This is how Candida can quickly escalate from a gut issue to a whole-body problem, and why it can be so difficult to pinpoint, as it can affect everything from your brain to your skin.
Its also why I so often see Candida overgrowth in my autoimmune patients. Candida causes leaky gut, which then leads to autoimmune disease. Thats another major reason why its key to correctly identify Candida as the underlying cause of your fungal infection so that you can pursue natural nail fungus treatments before it leads to more serious health conditions.
Read Also: How To Make Gel Nails
Why Does It Develop
A fungal nail infection occurs from the overgrowth of fungi in, under, or on the nail. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, so this type of environment can cause them to naturally overpopulate. The same fungi that cause jock itch, athletes foot, and ringworm can cause nail infections.
Fungi that are already present in or on your body can cause nail infections. If you have come in contact with someone else who has a fungal infection, you may have contracted it as well. Fungal infections affect toenails more commonly than fingernails, likely because your toes are usually confined to shoes, where theyre in a warm, moist environment.
If you get a manicure or pedicure at a nail salon, be sure to ask how the staff disinfects their tools and how often they do it. Tools, such as emery boards and nail clippers, can spread fungal infections from person to person if theyre not sanitized.
Treating Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment may not be necessary in mild cases of fungal nail infection. For more severe or troublesome cases, antifungal medication may be recommended.
A fungal nail infection is unlikely to get better without treatment, but if you’re not bothered by it you might decide it’s not worth treating because treatment can take a long time, may cause side effects, and isn’t always effective.
Whether or not you decide to have treatment, you should still follow the self-help advice below to help stop the condition getting worse or spreading to others.
Also Check: How To Repair Nails After Gel Manicure
Treatments For Fungal Nail Infections
Treatment isn’t always needed for a mild fungal nail infection because it’s unlikely to cause any further problems and you may feel it’s not worth treating.
Whether you decide to have treatment or not, you should still practise good foot hygiene to stop the infection getting worse or spreading to others.
Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you’re bothered by the appearance of the affected nail, or it’s causing problems such as pain and discomfort. They’ll probably recommend:
- antifungal tablets tablets taken once or twice a day for several months
- antifungal nail paints special paints applied directly to the nail over several months
- nail softening kits where a paste is used to soften infected parts of the nail, before they’re removed with a scraping device
A procedure to remove the nail completely may be recommended in severe cases. Laser treatment, where a high-energy laser is used to destroy the fungus, is also an option. But this is only available privately and can be expensive.
You can reduce your risk of developing a fungal nail infection by:
Nail salon equipment can sometimes be the source of fungal nail infections. If you regularly visit a salon, make sure any equipment used is properly sterilised between uses.
Signs And Symptoms Of Foot Fungus
Itchy skin is an early sign of foot fungus, or scaly, peeling skin, or tiny blisters on the skin that will pop at times, says Sundling. The skin tends to break out in the shape of a moccasin, or the area of the foot that a moccasin would cover. You dont see foot fungus on the top of the foot very often. Its common to get a fungal infection between the toes as well, she adds.
You May Like: How To Hang Curtain Rods Without Nails
How Do Dermatologists Treat A Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment usually begins with your dermatologist trimming your infected nail, cutting back each infected nail to the place where it attaches to your finger or toe. Your dermatologist may also scrape away debris under the nail. This helps get rid of some fungus.
To completely get rid of the infection, most people also need one or more of the following treatments:
Medicine you apply to the nail: If you have a mild infection, a medicine that you apply to your nails may get rid of the infection. This treatment helps keep new fungus out while the nails grow. Fingernails typically grow out in four to six months. Toenails take longer, usually takes 12 to 18 months.
Probably the most difficult part of this treatment is remembering to use it as often as prescribed. Some treatments must be applied every day. Others you apply once a week. To get the best results, its essential that you apply these medicines exactly as directed.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the following medicines that you apply to the nail to treat nail fungus:
Side effects from these medicines are generally mild. Possible side effects include redness and swelling, an ingrown toenail, and stinging or burning when you apply the medicine. In clinical trials, none of these side effects caused patients to stop using the treatment.
The FDA has approved the following systemic medicines to treat nail fungus:
When To Contact A Doctor
Toenail fungus is typically not a significant problem for most people. However, if there are no improvements or complications occur as a result of home remedies, people should speak with a doctor and stop using the home remedy as soon as possible. It is also advisable to contact a podiatrist if a person notices any discoloration, thickening, or abnormality of the toenails.
Furthermore, people at higher risk for complications should seek medical treatment for their toenail fungus and avoid home remedies altogether. This includes those with diabetes or with weakened immune systems.
Recommended Reading: Where Can I Buy Polygel Nail Kit
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.
What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Nail Fungus
With treatment, many people can get rid of nail fungus. Even when the fungus clears, your nail may look unhealthy until the infected nail grows out. A fingernail grows out in 4 to 6 months and a toenail in 12 to 18 months.
To clear the fungus, its important to:
Use the treatment exactly as prescribed
Apply the medicine for as long as prescribed
Keep all follow-up appointments with your dermatologist
Nail fungus can be stubborn. If you had a severe infection, its possible to clear the infection. A healthy looking nail, however, may be unrealistic, but you can expect the nail to look better and feel more comfortable.
Even with clearing, nail fungus can return. Youll find steps to reduce your risk in Tips: 12 ways to prevent another nail infection.
ReferenceGold LFS and Rosen T. Onychomycosis: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies. Dermatology News . March 2016:2-15.
You May Like: How To Play Guitar With Long Nails
There Is A Wide Range Of Options With Varying Success Rates
Other than keeping your toenails trimmed and perhaps painted, you may not pay much attention to them unless a problem develops. Healthy toenails are pink, shiny and smooth, but a fungal infection can cause them to become discolored, thick, brittle and even painful.
Toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is a common but challenging condition toenail fungus treatments include a wide range of options with varying success rates.
Causes of toenail fungus
Fungal nail infections are usually caused by fungi called dermatophytes that infect the skin beneath the nail yeast is another common culprit. Toenails are especially vulnerable to infection when your bare feet contact damp surfaces such as showers, swimming pools and locker rooms. If you have athletes foot, the infection can spread to the nails.
Wearing closed shoes such as athletic shoes for extended periods also can contribute to infection if your shoes and/or socks are damp from perspiration or heat. Moreover, if your shoes fit snugly enough to put pressure on your toes, they can damage the nail bed, making it more susceptible to infection.
People with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or circulatory problems, also may be more prone to toenail infections.
Symptoms of toenail fungus
Toenail fungus symptoms can develop slowly over time and may go unnoticed at first. Symptoms can include:
Toenail fungus treatments
When to see a doctor for toenail fungus
Preventing toenail fungus