As Time Passes Your Nails Can Become More Severe
- Nails may look brownish, yellowish, with little white patches. Some may even be brown or black. Nails may get flaky, brittle, and chipped.
- Bits of âgunkâ or debris may collect under your nails.
- Your nails may smell bad.
- Toenails may get so thick that wearing shoes cause pain. Discomfort from the infection may make it hard to walk, work, or do other activities.
- The daily task of putting on socks or stockings can even become difficult.
Types Of Toenail Fungal Infections
Toenail infections affect about 14 percent of the population at any given time, according to a study published in June 2014 in PloS Pathogens. The most common symptoms of a toenail fungal infection include discoloration of the nail, debris under the nail, irregularity of the white part of the nail, nail thickening, and pain, says Sheth.
Toenail fungal infections can usually be categorized into one of the following five subtypes:
Distal Subungual Onychomycosis This is the most common form of toenail fungal infection, usually occurring in the portion of the nail closer to the tip and on the underside of the nail. The nail may become thick, yellow, or brittle.
Endonyx Onychomycosis People who have endonyx onychomycosis have fungus growing between the layers of the toenails. With this type of fungus, toenails usually have a milky white color and may be pitted or split. They usually dont thicken or separate from the nail bed.
Proximal White Subungual Onychomycosis This is a relatively uncommon form of toenail fungus, seen most often in people with weakened immune systems due to conditions such as HIV. The fungus enters the toenail through the cuticle and affects the part of the nail closer to the base, turning it a whitish color.
Differences In Appearance Between Blood Under A Toenail And A Melanoma: Under More Scrutiny
Association with trauma. The trauma that leads to blood under a toenail isnt always blunt and painful at the time of occurrence.
It could be as seemingly innocuous as jogging downhill in footwear that isnt roomy enough. The patient might not even recall the trauma.
Though subungual hematoma often affects both big toes at the same time, it CAN occur in only one toe.
If your right foot is a little bigger than the left, the shoe on your right foot will have a tighter fit that may result in a hematoma, while the shoe on the left wont.
More than one toenail. If the appearance of the dark pigment in a big toe coincides with a similar-looking pigment in another toe either on that foot or the other then this points to a benign cause.
Blood grows out. If you view a hematoma every several days, youll notice that the space between the portion closest to the cuticle and the cuticle is getting bigger, or showing more nail.
As the nail is pushed out, the blood underneath goes with it. So if you noticed the pigment when it was first visibly connected to the cuticle area, in a few weeks it will be closer to the center of the nail, then after several more weeks itll be near the top of the nail. It can take several months to finally grow out.
Eventually the nail will be long enough such that when you trim it, youll also be trimming out the old dried blood.
A melanoma will stay firmly adhered to its place it will not move upward as the nail grows.
Treatment For Toenail Infection Or Fingernail Infection
For fungal nail infections, your GP will prescribe antifungal creams, solutions or tablets. Your GP might take a clipping of the nail before treatment starts to check that the fungus will respond to treatment.
For mild bacterial or viral infections with no pus, clean the affected finger or toe with an antiseptic solution. If your GP has prescribed an antibiotic cream, put it on the affected area.
When theres pus around the nail, your child will probably need oral antibiotics from your GP. The GP might also want to drain the pus from the nail area .
Try to keep the infected area clean. Your GP might tell you to cover the area with a basic dressing, which you can get from a pharmacy.
Putting something warm on the area might help if your child is in pain. You could try a heat pack. You can also give your child pain medicine like paracetamol or ibuprofen according to the directions on the packet.
Children with a severe bacterial infection might need antibiotics directly into a vein through a drip and the nail might need to be removed.
After youve touched or dressed your childs nail infection, you should always wash your hands thoroughly.
Fast Facts On Nail Fungal Infection:
- Microscopic fungi in the nail cause the condition.
- It can affect both fingernails and toenails but is more common in feet.
- Diagnosis is carried out by examination of the debris under the nail.
Treating nail fungus infections can be a long and expensive process. There are oral antifungal medications, topical ointments, and alternative therapies. Over the counter creams and ointments are available, but they have not proved very effective.
Oral medications for nail fungus infection include:
- greater clinical effects than the prescribed antifungal medication ketoconazole.
Other alternative medicines used to treat nail fungal infections include Australian tea tree oil, vinegar, listerine, and grapefruit seed extract. However, there is no scientific evidence supporting the use of these products.
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What Measures Can I Take To Avoid Acquiring A Fungal Nail Infection
- It is important that you keep your nails clean and trimmed. Refrain from removing the cuticle as this serves as a natural barrier from water and organisms getting inside the nail fold .
- Keep your feet dry. Fungi grow easily in moist, warm environments. You may try using foot or anti-fungal powder and wear cotton socks.
- Avoid walking barefoot in places such as communal locker rooms or public swimming pools
- Be careful about where you get a manicure or pedicure and make sure all tools and equipment are properly sterilized.
- Don’t share personal belongings such as socks, slippers, or shoes especially with people known to have onychomycosis. Laundering socks does not totally eliminate fungal elements from the material.
- Make sure to seek treatment if you suspect other fungal infections anywhere on the body as this can be transmitted to the nails which are much more difficult to treat.
Dr. Melinda Gooderham is the Medical Director at the SKiN Centre for Dermatology in Peterborough, Ontario. The centre includes a state-of-the-art Phototherapy and Psoriasis Treatment Centre, Patch Test Clinic, Laser Clinic, and Dermatology Research Centre. To learn more about Dr. Gooderham’s clinical research and ongoing studies visit: ResearchTrials.org – SKiN Centre for Dermatology
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:
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I Have Finished The Course Of My Oral Anti
Even in cases where treatment has been effective, the nails may have persistent abnormal appearance. The cells that produce the nail are mainly located behind the lunula . You have to wait for many months for the new, clear nails to reach the tip. The fingernails grow out at approximately 3mm/month and toe nails 1mm/month.
What If I Decided Not To Have Any Form Of Treatment
Onychomycosis is not life threatening and many have lived with the condition for years however, it can make someone more susceptible to secondary bacterial infection, particularly of the lower legs in those with poor circulation. Likewise, it may impose psychological stress because of the social stigma it carries and impact on daily life. Onychomycosis may also adversely affect ones occupation as it may affect the ability to perform certain tasks.
In a quality of life assessment of people affected by onychomycosis, the constant reoccurrence as well as the number of nails affected was shown to negatively affect quality of life. Moreover, 64 – 74% of those surveyed, admitted to embarrassment and lower self-image/self-esteem.
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Treatment Of Nail Fungal Infection At Different Stages
Treatment of onychomycosis at the first stage is crucial as the infection hasnt exacerbated yet and therefore is easier to heal. Topical treatments, such as anti-fungal creams and gels or medicated nail polish are the most commonly used at this stage. However, it is ideal to use a topically-applied medication that not only can kill the fungus, but can penetrate the nail as well.
Most topical treatments dont work because they cant penetrate the nail to get to the fungi. It is therefore recommended for sufferers to use a topical medication that can penetrate the nail and kill the fungus. A solution with 10% undecylenic acid, which can effectively get rid of the infection, and a penetrating agent , is recommended.
For moderate nail fungus infection, such topical solutions can still work. However, many sufferers use that in conjunction with oral medicines. Many anti-fungal pills in the market can treat fungal nail infection, though it is still suggested to use such medicines along with topical solutions .
Unfortunately, oral medicines are also more likely to cause side effects to patients. They are also not recommended for the elderly, pregnant women, and those who have other medical conditions or ailments.
But again, fungi can come back, even without the nail itself. This is why its recommended for patients to use topical anti-fungal ointment to the nail bed and surrounding skin while waiting for the nail to grow back. Otherwise, the fungi will just return.
Symptoms Of Toenail Infection Or Fingernail Infection
Fungal infections of the nail can make the nail thicken, crumble and change colour usually to yellow or white, but it can also go green or even black. This often happens slowly, and its usually painless.
If the skin on the feet is affected, you might see a scaly rash.
Fungal infections affect the toenails more often than the fingernails.
If your child has a bacterial or viral infection, the skin around your childs finger or toe will be inflamed. On children with darker skin, the inflammation might look brown, purple or grey. On children with lighter skin, the inflammation might look red. The skin might also be swollen, hot, tender and painful.
A blister with pus can form next to the nail. Rarely, your child might get a fever and have difficulty moving their finger or toe.
Bacterial and viral infections affect the fingernails more often than the toenails.
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How Fungi Infect The Nail
Onychomycosis, 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.
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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
Top 5 Signs Your Toenail Fungus May Have Escalated To An Infection
A little case of toenail fungus is practically a rite of passage you quickly learn not to go barefoot in a locker room or shared shower area again and to always pack clean socks. But what happens when your toenail problem goes beyond a suspect smell and yellowed appearance?
At Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle Center, with locations in Wheat Ridge, Granby, Evergreen, and Arvada, Colorado, our team of podiatrists and foot and ankle surgeons provide care for fungal toenail infections and much more. They believe in educating patients about skin and nail care so you can help avoid common problems and keep your feet healthy and strong.
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What Are The Potential Complications Of Toenail Fungus
People with diabetes, circulation problems, or weakened immune systems have a higher risk of developing toenail fungus complications.
If left untreated, toenail fungus can:
- spread to other nails
- make walking or wearing shoes painful
- lead to permanent nail damage
Even after successful treatment, severe infections can leave nails with enduring changes. Recurrence is also common. As with most other conditions, seeking early treatment when symptoms are mild usually results in the best outcome.
Once treatment is over, talk with your doctor and ask about ways to reduce the risk of toenail fungus returning.
Is It Toenail Fungus Or Something Else
Odd-looking toenail? It may be a fungal infection, but theres a good chance that another condition could be to blame.
If you notice an odd spot on your toenail, you might assume its a fungal infection. However, theres a good chance that its not.
Spots or discolorations on or under a toenail could be bruises resulting from trauma to the nail, blood blisters, warts, or even subungual melanoma, a type of skin cancer, says Ami Sheth, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Los Gatos, California, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Since nail irregularities can be caused by diseases besides these as well, its best to get it looked at, says Dr. Sheth.
Richard Goad, a doctor of podiatric medicine at Baylor Scott & White Health in Waco, Texas, concurs. Sometimes the nail will be the first place to show another underlying problem, Dr. Goad says.
So is it a fungus, a false alarm, or another condition entirely?
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Fungal Nail Infection Prevention
Itâs a good idea to wash your hands and feet often. Use soap, and make sure you get between your fingers and toes.
Keep your fingernails and toenails short and trimmed straight across.
Wear socks that wick away moisture. If your feet sweat a lot, change your socks once or twice a day, or take off your shoes and let your feet cool when you have the chance.
Use antifungal powder or spray on your feet as well as in your shoes. Throw away old pairs of closed-toe shoes since fungi might be living in them.
If you get manicures at nail salons, visit only the ones that disinfect tools after each client. You can also bring your own file and clippers from home. Ask them not to cut your cuticles, since this can cause tiny breaks in the skin that let germs in.
Donât share towels if someone else in your family has nail fungus. This will pass around the infection.
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.
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Fungal Nail Infection Treatment
See your doctor if you think you have nail fungus. It can be tough to get rid of, and youâre more likely to have success with a prescription. Treatments include:
- Oral antifungals. The doctor may give you a pill to kill fungus in your whole body. This is usually the best way to get rid of a nail infection. Treatment may last 2 months for an infection in your fingernails, or 3 months if itâs in your toenails.
- Topical antifungals. You rub or brush these medicines onto your nails. They may work for a mild infection, but they canât get deep enough into the nail to cure a more serious one. You might use a topical treatment in combination with a pill.
- Surgery. If other treatments donât work, the doctor may need to remove your nail entirely and let a healthy one grow back in its place. The new nail could also get infected.
- Laser or photodynamic therapy. Doctors are studying newer treatments that use special light to try to kill the fungus.