What Tests Might I Have For Toenail Fungus
Your provider will probably take a small sample from underneath your nail to further analyze it. Viewing the cells under a microscope can confirm a toenail fungus diagnosis. If the initial test is negative, a scraping can be sent to see if the fungus grows out in a culture. It also helps your provider identify the type of fungus.
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.;
Skin: Condition: Infomation Other Treatments
- Laser treatments, photodynamic therapy may be helpful but are less effective than the topical and systemic treatments listed above. These treatment options are not currently available on the NHS.
- Herbal products are promoted for fungal nail infection, but there is no good evidence that they are safe or more effective than standard treatments.
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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.
Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nails
Many changes in fingernails or toenails may cause people to think they have a fungal infection of the nails, medically known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium.
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.
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Nail Salons And Hygiene
Many salons use UV lamps to dry nail polish. Prolonged exposure to UV light can cause skin cancer, but the risk depends on the frequency of your exposure. At nail salons, you are also exposed to a variety of chemicals, such as acetone in potent nail polish remover.
As with UV light, if your exposure over time is limited, your risk of developing chemical-related health problems is low. However, continual exposure to the chemicals and fumes at a nail salon can result in headaches, difficulty breathing, and rashes.
How Do You Get A Fungal Nail Infection
Most fungal nail infections occur as a result of;the fungi that cause athlete’s foot infecting the nails.
These fungi often live harmlessly on your skin, but they can sometimes multiply and lead to infections. The fungi prefer warm, dark and moist places like the feet.
You’re more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you:
- don’t keep your feet clean and dry
- wear shoes that cause your feet to get hot and sweaty
- walk around barefoot in places where fungal infections can spread easily, such as communal showers, locker rooms and gyms
- have damaged;your nails
- have a weakened immune system
- have certain other health conditions, such as;diabetes, psoriasis;or peripheral arterial disease;
Fungal nail infections can be spread to other people, so you should take steps to avoid this ;if you have an infection.
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What Is A Fungal Nail Infection
A fungal nail infection is a common condition that can leave you with brittle, discolored nails, usually on your toes.
Its formal name is onychomycosis, and itâs a lot like athleteâs foot. But instead of affecting the skin on the bottom of your feet or between your toes, it invades your nails.
Fungi are tiny organisms you can only see through a microscope. Many different types can cause a nail infection. Sometimes they live on your skin and donât make any trouble. But if you have a lot in one area, you might get infected.
Donât be embarrassed if you have toenail or fingernail fungus. Itâs way more common than you think.
Skin: Condition: Infomation Terbinafine And Itraconazole
Terbinafine;and;itraconazole;have largely taken over from griseofulvin now. They work better and much more quickly, although only about 50% of nail infections are cured. Terbinafine should be considered as first line treatment for dermatophyte fungi . It is taken daily for 6 weeks for fingernail infections and for 12-16 weeks for toenail infections.
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What If It Does Happen Again
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, a fungal infection can return.;The good news is, you likely know what to look for in your nails by;now, and;catching it early will most likely mean a much easier and shorter treatment time than your first go.;
Our treatments, including;Lunula;laser therapy, are ready for you when needed.;We will be perfectly happy if we never have to use them for you again, however.;;
If you ever have any questions or suspicions regarding a potential fungal nail infection, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.;Call our Princeton office at or our Roselle Park office at .;You also can consult our free downloadable;guide;on;fungal nails for some more tips!;
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:
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The Importance Of Hygiene
When treating a fungal nail, always wash your hands after applying a treatment and remember to use a separate towel for your feet when youre drying them. Its a good idea to tell those close to you about your fungal nail infection so they can take precautions too. Dont share shoes or socks with them;as it can be contagious.
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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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.
Do Fungal Nail Infections Occur On Both Hands & Feet
Fungal nail infections tend to affect toenails far more than fingernails. This is because the feet are more often exposed to the kind of environments and surfaces where this type of infection thrives.
The infection can appear on any part of your nail but usually occurs under the nail plate on the nail bed.
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Healthy Habits To Prevent Toenail Fungus
Warm, sweaty feet are a breeding ground for a toenail fungal infection. Find out how you can sidestep this threat and keep your feet healthy.
Preventing toenail fungus may not be at the top of your to-do list, but perhaps it should be. Fungi are nearly everywhere in our environment, and they particularly love dark, moist, warm places, like inside your shoes. That makes it relatively easy to stumble upon a toenail fungal infection .
As many as half of all nail disorders are due to toenail fungal infection, and the condition affects about 14 percent of the population, according to a study published in the July 2014 issue of The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.
How Toenail Fungal Infections Develop
Toenail fungal infections are most often caused by microscopic organisms called dermatophytes. These organisms feed on keratin, the protein found in nails and hair.
There are several factors that increase your risk of developing a toenail fungal infection. Most people contract toenail fungus from a fungal skin infection such as athletes foot that transfers to the nail, says Jane E. Andersen, DPM, a podiatrist at Chapel Hill Foot and Ankle Associates in North Carolina and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. The wrong footwear can also take a toll on your toes. If toenails are traumatized by pressure from ill-fitting shoes, for instance, theyre weakened and more susceptible to fungus, she says.
Healthy Habits to Prevent Toenail Fungus
What Causes A Nail Fungal Infection
The infection is usually caused by exposure to a fungus. The fungus grows in wet, dark conditions. The fungus grows when your feet are in warm, sweaty environment . It enters your nail through a crack in the nail.
Nail fungal infections happen at any age. They are more common in adults older than 60 years of age. They are common in people who have diabetes or circulation problems. They also are common in people with a weakened immune system. Men are more likely than women to get fungal nail infections.
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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:
How Can I Prevent Toe Fungus
If you have had toe fungus more than once in your life, it is important that you actively take steps to prevent it from happening again. This can be done in a few ways:
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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.
Treatment Options For Fungal Nail
Treatment options, some of which can be prescribed by your GP and the others found at your local pharmacy, include:
Antifungal nail creams or paints
These are applied directly to the nail over several months and are most effective when used at the early stages of the infection. They aren’t generally considered to be as effective as tablets because it can be difficult for the product to reach the deep layers of the nail. Some people choose them over tablets because side effects are less common. These are available over the counter.
A paste is applied to soften the infected area. This is then covered with a plaster for 24 hours. The next day, the paste is washed off and the softened nail gently scraped away.;
This process has to be repeated every day for two to three weeks. When no more of the infected nail can be removed, an antifungal paint is applied to prevent re-infection as the nail grows over the next few months. These kits are available from your pharmacist.
These are only available on prescription and need to be taken for several months, before the infection has completely cleared up. Some tablets are unsuitable for people taking certain medicines, and some people may experience side effects. Always see your doctor or pharmacist for advice about medicines.
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Why Toenail Fungus Is So Stubborn
A fungal infection in your toenails is typically caused by a tiny organism called dermatophyte fungus. This type of fungus thrives in warm, moist environments think public swimming pools or locker rooms where it can be easily transferred between people.
Once you pick up the infection, it can spread fairly quickly, largely because you keep your feet inside shoes, creating the perfect environment for fungal growth.;
Making matters worse, your toenails are fairly thick and made up of many layers, which means the fungus can set up shop deep within these layers, making it more difficult to target. In moderate-to-severe cases, the fungus can even get into the matrix of your nail, which means any new toenail growth is already infected.
Rounding out the list of hurdles is the fact that your toes dont benefit from great circulation, so your immune system is less likely to detect and fight off the foreign invaders.;
What all of this amounts to is that many people think that a toe fungal infection is coming back when it never really went away in the first place.
Toenail Fungus Prescription Medications
Sometimes prescription medications are needed to treat a toenail infection that just wont go away with natural remedies or over-the-counter medication in a few months. In this case, prescription-strength antifungal medication can eradicate stubborn onychomycosis.
Topical medications often are effective in treating mild to moderate toenail fungus. Topical solutions may include medicated nail polishes or liquid medications. Loprox , Penlac , Kerydin , and Jublia are among the top prescription drugs for toenail fungus.;
Oral medications can come in capsules, tablets, or liquid. Some common prescriptions are Diflucan , Lamisil , Onmel , and Sporanox .
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How Would I Know If I Have A Nail Infection
Fungus grows in warm, moist places such as under nails. When fungus has a chance to grow in the nail, it can turn into a fungal infection, which is a common problem. Typical signs of a fungal infection include new white or yellow patches and streaks, but nails can also turn brown or green. Youll see lifting of the nail from the skin underneath, and sometimes you will see thickening of the nail. The nail will look bumpy or have ridges with crumbly debris underneath. It may even be so misshapen that it seems to be veering off to the side, or the nail may fall off completely.
If the infection is caused by bacteria instead of a fungus, you may notice redness, swelling, pain or pus in the skin surrounding the nail.
Treatment Options For Nail Fungus
Most of my conversation is usually discussing medical therapy, so things that are available by prescription only. And those come in two main forms, which are topical antifungal medications, and then oral antifungal medications. There are other surgical or procedural options, so you can remove nails as well. And then there’s starting to be more interest in technologies like lasers for nail fungus.
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