Your Nails Are Yellow
Don’t freak out, but if your nails turn yellow, it may be fungus. You’ll likely notice “yellowish nail discoloration ,” says Shainhouse. It can be small areas of fungus, where “the yellow nail changes begin at the cuticle side of the nail,” or it can take over the whole nail, where it’s completely yellow, Shainhouse says. It depends on the extremity.
Do Certain Sports Put Your Nails At Risk For Injury
We definitely see a lot of nail problems with sports that require a lot of running, dancing or kicking. Chronic rubbing of the toe on the toe-box of shoes can cause lifting and bruising of the nail.
If you do a lot of running, keep nails short, and choose shoes with a wider toe box. And at the gym, be sure to wear flip-flops in the locker room and by the pool, so you dont pick up a fungus.
Laser Procedure For Toenail Fungus Under The Nails
Using a laser directly on the toenails helps to reach those areas underneath and inside the nail. This is because the type of light used can penetrate through the tough layers of the nails. Laser procedures are very convenient because they can be completed in under 10 minutes per foot.
The PinPointe foot laser is FDA-approved for the temporary increase of clear nail in patients with onychomycosis.
This machine can be used on almost all patients because it has virtually no side effects. In one study, over 83% of people who received three sessions with a laser and improved their foot hygiene had no fungi after 18-months.
Some people start to see visible improvement after just one visit, although you may need to return a small number of times for follow-up.
The laser works by targeting the fungi without hurting your skin and nails. Its designed to be at the right level to penetrate your nail and damage the infecting fungi, while not being too high to cause burning or pain for your feet. Most people dont feel anything, or they just feel a warming sensation.
At the time of the procedure, the toenail will usually not become instantly clearit takes time to grow out. As long as your infection is treated and you dont get re-infected, you should see new healthy, clear nail as it grows out within 12-18 months.
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Living With A Nail Fungal Infection
If you have a nail fungal infection, some things can help:
- Keep your nails cut short and file down any thick areas.
- Dont use the same nail trimmer and file on healthy nails and infected nails. If you have your nails professionally manicured, bring your own nail file and trimmer from home.
- Wear waterproof gloves for wet work . Wear 100% cotton gloves for dry work.
- Wear socks made of wicking material . This pulls moisture away from the skin. Change your socks when they are damp from sweat or if your feet get wet. Put on clean, dry socks every day. Put over-the-counter antifungal foot powder inside your socks to keep your feet dry.
- Wear shoes with good support and a wide toe area. Dont wear pointed shoes that press your toes together.
- Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, such as locker rooms.
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.
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Both Conditions Have Similar Symptoms But Are Treated Differently
To make this situation more complicated, patients with psoriasis are at a higher risk for nail funguses.2 Both nail fungus and nail psoriasis can have similar symptoms but are treated very differently.
This article will discuss some of the similarities, differences, risk factors and treatments of both nail fungus and nail psoriasis.
Scroll For Disturbing Toenail Fungus Pictures Below
The first symptom you may notice is a small white or yellow spot on the nail, this spot may be very small making it hard to notice. The small spot on the nail is the beginning stages of the fungal infection and with time will grow and progress to a much larger area, sometimes engulfing the whole nail. The lack of discomfort, and the use of nail polish in women, can allow this minor change to go by un-noticed.
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Is Toenail Fungus Really Such A Problem
If youre thinking you can just live with it, we dont advise letting toenail fungus go untreated. Its an insidious problem, and without treatment, you have to deal with the discomfort of the nail as well as feeling self-conscious about its unsightliness.
If you let a nail fungus infection go for too long, several problems emerge. The infected nail can become misshapen and increasingly separated from your nail bed. Itching and pain are unpleasant side effects if theyre too severe, you can have trouble wearing shoes or walking.
You need to be especially attentive to treating toenail fungus if your immune system is compromised. If youre living with diabetes, its critical not to ignore the fungus. Even a mild infection like this can snowball into something more serious, like cellulitis, a severe bacterial skin infection.
Another problem is that untreated fungus eventually can spread to either neighboring toenails or to the skin of your foot, causing athletes foot. Possibly the worst outcome of untreated nail fungus is needing to have your nail surgically removed.
Let’s Take A Look At Risk Factors
As discussed earlier, having psoriasis can put you at risk for nail fungal infections. While the only risk for getting nail psoriasis is having psoriasis on your hands and feet, there are quite a few risk factors for nail fungus.2,4
- Age: You are more likely to get nail fungus infections as you get older. This can because your nails grow slower, your circulation is not as good, and because you have been exposed to more fungi than when you were younger.
- Having other health issues: Patients with cancer, diabetes, poor circulation, and poor immune systems are more likely to have nail fungal infections.
- Exposure to damp environments: Fungus thrives in damp environments. If you notice that your socks are damp every time you take them off, you have to wear gloves a lot for your job, or you often walk barefoot in places like locker rooms, or pools, you are at higher risk for nail fungal infections.
- Wearing artificial nails: Make sure that your salon uses new or freshly sterilized instruments every time you get your nails done. Additionally, acrylic nails can separate from the natural nail, leaving a place for fungus to grow.
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Can A Nail Fungal Infection Be Prevented Or Avoided
Avoid situations that expose you to a fungus. This includes walking barefoot in locker rooms and having wet hands and feet often. This might be a problem for people who work in restaurants or house cleaning. People in a family can get nail fungal infections at the same time. This happens when their immune systems arent able to fight off the infection. Or it could be the infection is spread when using the same towels. It is important to routinely clean your shower, tub, and bathroom to lower risk of fungal infection.
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.
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Nail Fungal Infection Treatment
Prescription medicines can treat a fungal nail infection. Oral antifungal medicines help a new nail grow. This will replace the infected nail. You may need to take antifungal medicine for 6 to 12 weeks. Some oral medicines are not safe for people who have liver problems. They are not safe for people who have a history of congestive heart failure. Tell your doctor if you have one of these conditions. Your doctor will decide which medicine is right for you.
Apply topical treatments to the top of your nail. Topical medicines usually do not cure fungal nail infections.
In severe cases, a doctor might remove the nail completely. It can take several months to a year for the infection to go away.
Complications Related To Nail Fungus
Nail fungal infections will continue to worsen without treatment, and can become very painful as well as lead to permanent damage of your nails. If you have a weakened immune system or diabetes, the infection can spread from your nails to other parts of your body.
When To Visit Urgent Medical Center For Nail Fungus
Signs you should go to Urgent Medical Center as soon as possible for a nail infection:
- If fungal nail infections are persistent and dont go away
- Your fingers or toes are red, draining pus, and/or painful
If you are suffering from what appears to be a nail fungus, visit your local Urgent Medical Center today for fast, effective treatment.
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What Causes A Fungal Infection In The Feet
If your feet are damp or sweaty, fungi can take root under the nails of the toes. Common causes of toenail fungus include the dermatophyte fungus, mold, yeast, or simply athletes foot .
Additional factors can contribute to a toenail infection, such as trauma to the nail, lack of daily hygiene, and certain vascular diseases. If you regularly swim in a pool, the continual exposure to water can increase your risk of fungal exposure.
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What Are The Similarities
Both can occur in the fingers and toes. Both nail psoriasis and fungal infections can happen in the toenails and fingernails. Nail fungus is more likely to happen in the toenails, while nail psoriasis is more likely to affect the fingernails.1,2
Other similarities include:
- Discoloration of the nail: Both psoriasis and fungal infections can cause discoloration of the nail. Patients with psoriasis often notice their nails change to a yellowish-brown color, while patients with fungal infections see yellow, brown and green colors.3,4
- Nail lifting or falling off: Both conditions can have a symptom where their nails separate from the nail bed or even fall off.3,4 This is known as Onycholysis.
- Nail thickening: Both conditions can cause the nails to thicken.1,2
Can You Really Pick Up Infections Or Nail Fungus At Salons
You can. Anytime your nails are getting wet, cut or filedor your cuticles are being trimmedit is an opportunity for bacteria and fungi to get in under the nail.
Both bacteria and fungi can cause nail infections and are very common in the environment. You can easily pick up a nail fungus, for example, at a swimming pool, from the gym floor, the dirt outside or even from a family member.
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Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nails
Fungal infection of the nails sometimes makes the condition sound contagious or related to poor hygiene. In fact, up to 10% of all adults in Western countries have fungal infection of the nails. This percentage increases to 20% of adults who are age 60 or older. Toenail fungus is much more common than fingernail fungus.
In reality, abnormal-looking nails may be caused by a number of conditions including, but not limited to, fungal infection. There are many other reasons why your nails may look different.
What Are The Signs Of Nail Fungus
If you get nail fungus, youre likely to see one or more of the following changes to your nails:
Part of a nail turns white, yellow, brown, or another color. At first, you may just see a spot of discoloration at the tip of your nail. Without treatment, this discoloration may spread, covering more of the nail.
Debris builds up under the nail.
A nail begins to lift up, so its no longer firmly attached to the finger or toe.
A nail turns white, and the surface of the nail may feel soft, dry, and powdery. The nail also thins, so you may be able to scrape off the nail.
Nails thicken and turn yellow or brown, often this affects all of the fingernails.
A nail splits or crumbles.
Treatment is important
Without treatment, the fungus can spread and damage more nails.
Having nail fungus is usually painless. At least, its painless in the beginning. However, if you put off getting treatment, the fungus can grow. When the fungus worsens on toenails, wearing shoes can become painful.
If you see any changes to a nail, you should see a board-certified dermatologist. When caught early, nail fungus may clear with treatment applied to the nail. As the fungus grows, it becomes more difficult to clear the infection.
ImagesImages 1,2, and 3 used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 70:918-23.
Image 4 used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
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How Effective Are Tablets In Treating Nail Fungus
Tablets for the treatment of nail fungus have been tested in several studies. All participants had an infection on their toenails caused by a skin fungus. Overall, the study results showed that tablets are considerably more effective than nail polishes or creams.
One year after a three-month treatment with terbinafine:
- About 17 out of 100 people who didnt have this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
- About 76 out of 100 people who had this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
In other words, the treatment with terbinafine got rid of the fungal infection in about 59 out of 100 people.
Itraconazole also proved to be effective. After one year,
- 7 out of 100 people who didnt have this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
- About 43 out of 100 people who had this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
In other words, the treatment with itraconazole got rid of the fungal infection in about 36 out of 100 people.
Some studies directly compared itraconazole and terbinafine with each other. They confirm that terbinafine is somewhat more effective than itraconazole.
Treatment with breaks is thought to be about as effective as continuous treatment. But that has only been looked into in a few studies.
Whos At Risk For Fungal Infections
There are many different causes of fungal nail infections. Each cause has a treatment of its own. Although many of the causes of a fungal nail infection are preventable, some risk factors increase the likelihood of developing one. Youre more likely to develop a fungal nail infection if you:
- wear closed-toe shoes, such as tennis shoes or boots
Nail infections occur more often in men than in women, and the infections are found in adults more often than in children. If you have family members who often get these types of fungal infections, youre more likely to get them as well.
Older adults have a high risk for getting fungal nail infections because they have poorer circulation. The nails also grow more slowly and thicken as we age.
A fungal infection of the nail may affect part of the nail, the entire nail, or several nails.
Common signs of a fungal nail infection include:
- a distorted nail that may lift off from the nail bed
- an odor coming from the infected nail
- a brittle or thickened nail
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How to know if toenail fungus is healing. Nail fungus can be resistant to treatment and nails take a long time to grow out, so it can take several weeks or months for an infection to be fully resolved. Without treatment, the fungus will spread from one spot to the whole of the nail, or even to other nails. These medications are weak, and often don’t penetrate the nail well enough to kill the fungus.
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