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.
How To Spot A Nail Fungal Infection
Nail fungal infection, or onychomysis, is easy to spot. However, it is also easy to be mistaken for another nail disorder. Yellow nails, brittle nails, or blackened nails dont necessarily mean nail fungus; they may be signs of other diseases or abnormalities. So what does a nail fungus look like? The infection starts with a fungusmost commonly dermatophytesthat infects one nail at first by getting in through the cracks of the nail. It is often painless, only making the nail look thickened and discolored. However, there are cases when the nail fungus infection can cause pain and discomfort. The nail may also begin to crumble from brittleness, or there may be white or yellow patches if the nail has been lifted from the skin underneath it . The fungus may also spread to and infect other nails.
As some of these symptoms can also be found in other nail and skin conditions, its recommended that the nail is assessed by a doctor. Proper diagnosis of the condition can mean proper treatment.
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.
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Your Options For Treating Toenail Fungus
If you think you may have toenail fungus, you should see a podiatrist or dermatologist, who will send a specimen or a piece of your nail to a lab. Different types of fungus are treated slightly differently, so its important to know which type you have, says Sundling.
Also, sometimes the root of the problem is not a fungus at all, but rather another condition, or some kind of trauma to the nail bed for instance, if you dropped something on your toe. There is no treatment for toenail trauma, but removing the nail may be an option if the nail is painful.
If you do have a toenail fungus, your doctor will likely recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
Treating Toenail Fungus Medically
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Are There Topical Prescriptions To Cure Toenail Fungus
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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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How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Nail Fungus
To find out if a patient has nail fungus, a dermatologist examines your nails and nearby skin. Its important to check the skin because the fungus can spread. You may already have a skin infection caused by fungus like athletes foot.
To get rid of the infection, you will need to treat all infected areas.
Before giving you the diagnosis, your dermatologist may also take some samples. Collecting a bit of debris from beneath a nail, trimming off part your nail, or scraping off a bit of skin can be very helpful. In a lab, these samples can be examined under a microscope to find out whats causing the problem.
Are you hiding an infected nail with nail polish?
Be sure to ask your dermatologist if you can wear nail polish while treating nail fungus.
Why Wont My Toenail Fungus Go Away
Now that its sandal season, youre probably going to be showing off your toenails a little more, and yellowish nails can leave you feeling self-conscious about toenail fungus. While toenail fungus may not seem like an immediate concern, youre going to want to take proactive treatment because its unlikely that the fungus will go away on its own. Today, we take a look at some of the ways you can treat lingering toenail fungus.
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How Fungi Infect The Nail
Onchomycosis, or toenail fungal infection, is an invasion by a microscopic organism that thrives in warm, damp environments. Fungal spores are in the air, and they will grow if they land on a receptive surface like your toenail. They feed off the nail tissues, burrowing into the skin under the nail. Over time the nail thickens and may lift off the nail bed as fungal debris accumulates. Once your nail is raised off the nail bed, it won’t reattach, and a new nail won’t grow from that part of the nail bed. However, your nail will continue to grow from the root at the base.
The Earliest Signs Of A Fungal Toenail Infection
The initial signs of toenail fungus are very subtle. They might not even register as a potential infection at all unless you know what youre looking for.;
The earliest signs include:
- Unusual white or yellow streaks or spots in the nail
- Crumbling along the edges or tips of the nail, particularly where its discolored
- Flaking of the nail in certain areas
- Increasing distortion of nail shape
- Potentially more noticeable foot odor
The spots and streaks can be a particularly tricky symptom, as such marks can appear when you have bumped your toe against something as well.;
The best way to tell the difference between nail trauma and a fungal infection is to keep an eye on the marks for a while. Marks from a nail injury will eventually fade or grow out as the nail does. Spots and streaks from a fungal infection, however, will gradually change shape and grow.
If you are uncertain of your symptoms, it is never a bad idea to err on the side of caution and have them checked out anyway. Even if it doesnt turn out to be a fungal infection, youll at least have the peace of mind of knowing.
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Does Toenail Fungus Ever Go Away On Its Own
Onychomycosis even the name isnt all that attractive. But when it strikes your toenails, the effects can be downright unsightly. Toenail fungus is an incredibly common, and tenacious, condition to deal with. Once it takes hold, the fungal infection seemingly mocks your every effort at eradication, which is where we come in.
At Jeremy Moran: Foot & Ankle Specialist, our team of podiatric specialists understands the difficulty that this seemingly simple problem poses. A fungal infection in your toenails, though not dangerous, is an unwelcome guest that can take up residence and plague your toenails for months, and even years.;
If youd like to explore how we help our patients in Tomball, Texas, wave goodbye to toenail fungus, once and for all, read on.
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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.
How Do You Get Rid Of Toenail Fungus In One Day
According to a 2016 review, thymol has antifungal and antibacterial properties. To treat toenail fungus, apply oregano oil to the affected nail twice daily with a cotton swab. Some people use oregano oil and tea tree oil together. Both products are potent and may cause irritation or allergic reaction.
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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:
How To Heal Toenail Fungus Naturally
Different types of treatments also take different times to work.; If you use a treatment that contains Tea tree oil, for example, the treatment will work faster.; The reason for this is that tea tree oil is a very powerful essential oil, and can kill fungus fast.
There are some excellent natural foot soaks available, such as Rocky Mountain Tea Tree Oil. These are excellent if nail fungus is in the early to middle stages, or if you want to prevent the condition from returning.
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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.
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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.
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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Doctors Weigh Best Treatments
The best treatment for fungal nail infections is a prescription that your dermatologist can prescribe that you take every day for two-to-three months. The pill is not for everyone, since oral antifungals can interact with other medications and can affect the liver.
Fortunately if you dont want to or cant take a pill, there are topical solutions to treat nail fungus. Although topical medications are desirable because of the low risk of side effects and interaction with other medications, they have much longer treatment regimens.;Generally, topical medications have a lower clearance rate compared to oral pills.;
Newer topical antifungals including Efinaconazole and Tavaborole have better penetration of the nail plate and so they work better compared to older topical medications, says Dr. Ng. She says the topical medications work best if you only have partial nail involvement.;
Lasers are approved by the FDA to temporarily increase the amount of clear nail. However, the cure rates are lower than oral medications and topical solutions.;
Nurses Know That Home Remedies Knock Out Nasty Nail Fungus
Many people have been reluctant to go to a doctors office because of COVID-19. Unless something is really serious, the risks may seem too great. Nasty nail fungus infections just dont seem like that big a deal, but the longer they persist, the worse they get. When a condition is not worrisome, we are OK with home remedies. To be on the safe side, people with diabetes and those with psoriasis should have their discolored or deformed nails checked by a doctor.;;
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Get Rid Of Your Toenail Fungus Asap
Whether you are seeing early signs of a fungal toenail infection or your toes are already deep in the thick of it, there is no reason to wait any more to receive the treatment you need.
The longer an infection goes unaddressed, the firmer a hold it will have within the nail and the more challenging it will be to treat. We are still up to that challenge, of course, but we would rather save our patients as much time and effort as possible!
Our team at Family Foot Care & Surgery will carefully examine your case and provide our best recommendations for a course of action. The sooner the fungus is destroyed, the sooner your nails can heal, and the better you can avoid more substantial damage.
Call our offices in Milford,; or Hamden,;, to schedule an appointment with us, or fill out our online contact form if you prefer to reach us electronically instead.;