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.
What Happens If I Dont Treat Toenail Fungus
According to Dr. Wagenseller, In many cases, it is not necessary to treat toenail fungus, and the condition is more often a cosmetic concern. If the appearance of your toenails is your biggest concern, you may want to forego medications that can have serious side effects. If the fungal infection is more serious and you notice a foul-smelling discharge or other signs of infection, treatment is necessary to ensure your whole body health and safety. Otherwise, determining whether or not to treat toenail fungus is really a matter of personal preference.
What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Toenail Fungus
The most effective toenail fungus treatment for you will largely depend on your symptoms and situation. Your provider will consider several factors before recommending a treatment plan thats customized to you.
Overall, oral antifungal medications may offer the most treatment potential. Pairing oral drugs with topical antifungal medication may make treatment more effective.
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What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Toenail Fungus
If you have toenail fungus, you may find it helpful to ask your provider:
- What type of infection do I have?
- Do you recommend I treat it? Why or why not?
- How long will I need treatment?
- What steps can I take to stop it from coming back?
- Should I be aware of any potentially serious complications or treatment side effects?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Toenail fungus is an incredibly common infection that can be difficult to treat. The condition usually isnt painful, but it may make you feel self-conscious about how your foot looks. If it bothers you, talk to your provider about your treatment options. A trained specialist can provide guidance on whats most likely to address your concerns while protecting your overall health.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.
How Many Laser Treatments To Remove Toenail Fungus
- The number of laser sessions depends upon:
- The number of infected nails
- The severity of the fungal nail infection
- General health.
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Will A Podiatrist Treat Toenail Fungus
Fungal infections in the toenail are relatively common, causing foul smells and unsightly appearances around the nail plate. If you recognize the symptoms of toenail fungus, you must meet with the right doctor, a podiatrist, for proper treatment.
Podiatrists will treat toenail fungus by using topical creams, removing part of the nail, and or using more modern methods like laser therapy to eliminate the infection. At Arizona Foot Doctors, our podiatrists conduct a thorough evaluation of your nail before starting treatment to better understand the infections origin, possible underlying conditions, and to create a treatment approach that best fits your needs and lifestyle.
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.
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Possible Causes Of Toenail Fungus
First off, how did we get to this point? What might have started with a little yellowing has turned into a full-on fungus. And you really just dont know what to do because youre not certain what caused it in the first place.
The truth of the matter here isit could have been caused by a whole number of thingspoor circulation, diabetes, psoriasis, environmental factors like keeping your feet in water too long or being in a locker room that is hot and humid most of the time, etc. The reason behind your toenail fungus could also be a combination of all these things. A fungal infection can spread and get much worse than it already is. If youre starting to see or feel these symptomsyou might want to consider going to a doctor:
Fungal Nail Infection Causes
A fungal nail infection is caused by an overgrowth of fungi. These fungi fall into three categories:
These cause most cases of toenail fungus infections and also cause athletes foot, which can spread from person to person.
Moulds are usually found in soil and these typically do not spread from one person to another. It is uncommon for you to catch a nail infection this way.
Yeasts are normally found on the body and can cause a nail infection if they grow out of control.
Fungal nail infections are usually triggered when the conditions are right for the fungi to grow. This includes when:
- Your feet or hands are warm, moist and in dark conditions for a period of time, for example if you wear socks, shoes or gloves
- Your feet and hands arent kept clean and dry
- Nails are broken or damaged
- You have a weakened immune system or are suffering from certain other illnesses, like diabetes
You can read more about the causes and triggers for a fungal nail infection.
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How Much Is Laser Toenail Fungus Removal
While laser toenail fungus treatment is FDA approved, very effective, and very successful, most insurance companies, unfortunately, do not cover it.
- See us for a no-obligation consultation to see if it is the right choice for you, as there are numerous options for toenail fungus treatment.
- See a toenail specialist like a podiatrist to see if this is the best option for you!
Pros Of Laser For Toenail Fungus Treatment:
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Types Of Toenail Fungus With Pictures
There are four different types of toenail fungus, each with its own symptoms and treatment options. Deciding which type of toenail fungus you have is easier if you know what to look for. These pictures act as a visual guide.
The most common type is distal subungual Onychomycosis, which accounts for as many as 85% of cases. The fungus is easy to distinguish because it causes thick, discolored nails, scaling underneath of it, and nails that easily crumble.
Onychomycosis, better known as toenail fungus, is a common ailment that affects millions of people every year. Characterized by changes in the color of the toenail, such as looking white, black, or yellow, the fungus is an infection underneath the nail that is caused by yeast or other bacteria. They attack the keratin found in your nail to survive, and if left untreated, toenail fungus can cause an embarrassing, foul-smelling odor that prevents you from wearing sandals or otherwise feeling comfortable being barefoot.
Some people suffer from white superficial Onychomycosis, which occurs when the nail turns white and begins to crumble.
People who have ailments that suppress their immune systems may suffer from proximal subungual Onychomycosis, which turns the nail white near the cuticle.
Finally, candidal Onychomycosis is a type of fungus that causes the nail to separate completely from the bed.
How Much Does Toenail Laser Fungus Removal Cost
At our clinic, we include laser fungal therapy and treatment as a covered benefit.
- While it is true that laser therapy is needed, it may require an in-person evaluation, as there are other options if it is decided that it is not worth it.
- In most cases, laser toenail fungus therapy treatments can be in the range of what a standard co-pay would be anyway.
- Visit us for a no-obligation consultation to see if laser toenail fungus therapy is beneficial for you.
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The Podiatrist’s Take On Home Remedies
While home remedies are unlikely to cause any harm in themselves, Dr. Hinkes urges caution when relying on them when looking for how to get rid of toenail fungus. “Resorting to folk remedies can be dangerous because it could keep the patient from getting a legitimate diagnosis and treatment,” he says. “Now in some people, this could be a critical thing, because it can be contagiousyou can pass it to other people and you can pass it to other parts of your body. So it’s really not something you want to fool with.” Dr. Hinkes’ advice is clear: Visit a foot care specialist. This could be a podiatrist, but foot care nurses also offer an excellent and affordable service as an alternative. And if neither of those is available, try a dermatologist. Left untreated, this condition won’t go away on its own and can cause serious pain, deformity, and even lead to further complications. Podiatrists recommend seeking expert helpyou’re better safe than sorry. If you’re desperate, though, try these DIY foot and toenail fungus treatments.
When Should I See A Bethesda Or Springfield Podiatrist
If you have a condition that compromises your immune system, home treatments and remedies may not be a viable option to begin with, so its important to see a podiatrist;right away to avoid complications and minimize risks. For healthy individuals, home treatments may help to get rid of the fungus, but they are never a guarantee.
If you find that you have stubborn toenail fungus that wont go away with home treatments or you need to see a podiatrist because you have diabetes or another condition, Dr. Paul Ross can help! Please dont hesitate to give us a call at .
The Podiatry Centers located in Bethesda, Maryland and Springfield, Virginia treat all medical and surgical foot and ankle conditions. Licensed Podiatrist, Dr. Paul Ross can help bring you foot and ankle pain relief.
Our Bethesda, Maryland and Springfield, Virginia Podiatry offices offer the most effective and state-of-the-art, quality podiatry care services with a smile to patients in our local community, including: Woodbridge VA, Fairfax VA, Annandale VA, Arlington VA, Alexandria VA, Burke VA, Gaithersburg MD, Potomac MD, Silver Spring MD, Rockville MD and Chevy Chase MD.
Return to a pain-free life and get back to the things you love!
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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.
What Is A Fungal Infection
There are two broad categories of fungal infections:
Dermatologists treat fungal infections of the skin, as well as fungal infections in hair and nails. Often, these infections appear as itchy, scaley, rashes on the skin.;
Superficial infections are known by common names such as athletes foot and ringworm, or by medical names that indicate the fungus and location. These infections include:;
- Tinea unguum
- tinea cruris
- Tinea capitis
Nail fungus, knowns as onychomycosis or tinea unguum, is the most common fungal infection with over three million cases a year.
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Other Options For Foot And Nail Fungus
Oral antifungal medications offer a different approach to treating nail fungus. Studies have shown the most effective treatments to beterbinafine and itraconazole. They help a new nail grow free of infection, slowly replacing the infected portion of your nail.
Oral medications are generally prescribed for foot fungus and nail fungus related to
- A history of cellulitis.
- Pain or discomfort resulting from the nail infection.
The course of treatment generally lasts from 6 to12 weeks, but full results are not realised until the nail grows back completely, which can take up to four months. Recurrent infections are common, particularly if your feet become warm and moist inside your shoes.
Antifungal drugs for foot fungus may cause side effects from mild to extreme . This course of therapy is not recommended for people suffering from congestive heart failure, who have liver disease or take certain types of medications.
Other treatment options for nail fungus
Your doctor may also suggest these nail fungus treatment options:
How Does A Nail Fungus Start
Nail fungus infection is a common dermatological disorder that begins either under the nail or in the nail itself. It is mostly caused by a dermatophyte fungus, though there are cases that it is caused by Candida yeast as well. Also called onychomycosis, the condition affects both fingernails and toenails, though it is more prevalent in toenails. Fungi thrive in warm and moist environments, which perhaps describe a lot of footwear. Nail fungus infection can also start with the same dermatophyte fungus that causes athletes foot, the Trichophyton. So when a person has athletes foot, its also likely that the fungal infection would spread to the nails.
Fungal infection gives nails an abnormal appearance. The first sign of it may be a discolored dot on the nail or the skin under the nail. There may be white or yellow streaks on the nail, a crumbling corner or tip of the nail, flaking on the nails surface, yellow spots at the bottom of the nail, and scaling under the nail. The infected nail may also be thickened or brittle, and it may detach from the nail bed. In some cases, there may also be odor coming from the infected nail.
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Are Oral Medications For Nail Fungus Toxic
The newer drugs are unlikely to cause any liver problems in patients without known liver disease. Blood tests are not needed for once-weekly treatment with fluconazole ; however, people taking longer courses often have their liver function tested before starting the medicine and then retested during the course of treatment. It is important to notify the doctor of all side effects while on the medication. You should tell your doctor of all current medications to prevent potential serious drug interactions.
What Does A Podiatrist Specialize In
A doctor of podiatric medicine is uniquely qualified to treat conditions of the foot and ankle. A podiatrist can further specialize in surgery, pediatrics, geriatrics, sports medicine, and biomechanics. The training to become a podiatrist includes a four-year college degree, four years of podiatry school, and a three-year residency.
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How To Prepare To See Your Doctor
- List any symptoms, even ones that you feel are not likely related to your nail condition. This can affect your doctors treatment choices.
- List any medications that you are currently taking. Some nail fungus treatments may have interactions with other drugs. List any allergies or other personal information that may be relevant.
- Inform the doctor of any other health problems that you have. Conditions like cancer, diabetes and psoriasis can make you more vulnerable to infection or could make certain treatment options not good for you.
Possible Risks And Complications
A podiatry laser has no effect on healthy tissue. It targets only the infected areas. Happily, patients who undergo laser nail treatment for fungus removal should experience no discomfort during or after the treatment.
In some cases, patients have reported feeling a warming sensation or a slight pinprick.
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Toenail Fungus Infection Treatment
As a rule, toenail fungal infections require medical treatment. Over-the-counter products might help some of the symptoms, but it’s a temporary fix. To completely eradicate the fungus and keep it from spreading to other nailsâor peopleâprescription medicine is necessary.
Fair warningâthis isn’t a “one and done” kind of treatment. “It’s a one year for cure with both orals and topicals, says Dr. Lipner. “Orals are taken for three months, and topicals are taken for one year.” You can’t just blame fungus for that.
Toenails grow on average about one millimeter per month, and it takes a least a year for an entirely new, healthy toenail to grow. Treatments vary depending on the type and severity, but typically antifungal medicines are applied to the toenail daily or weekly, while you also take antifungal medicine pills.
It’s rare, but when medication doesn’t resolve the problem, the toenail is surgically removed or non-surgically with a chemical applied to the nail. The nail can grow back, but if the fungus is persistent, a dermatologist can treat the nail so it doesn’t grow back.