How Do Dermatologists Treat A Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment usually begins with your dermatologist trimming your infected nail, cutting back each infected nail to the place where it attaches to your finger or toe. Your dermatologist may also scrape away debris under the nail. This helps get rid of some fungus.
To completely get rid of the infection, most people also need one or more of the following treatments:
Medicine you apply to the nail: If you have a mild infection, a medicine that you apply to your nails may get rid of the infection. This treatment helps keep new fungus out while the nails grow. Fingernails typically grow out in four to six months. Toenails take longer, usually takes 12 to 18 months.
Probably the most difficult part of this treatment is remembering to use it as often as prescribed. Some treatments must be applied every day. Others you apply once a week. To get the best results, its essential that you apply these medicines exactly as directed.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the following medicines that you apply to the nail to treat nail fungus:
Side effects from these medicines are generally mild. Possible side effects include redness and swelling, an ingrown toenail, and stinging or burning when you apply the medicine. In clinical trials, none of these side effects caused patients to stop using the treatment.
The FDA has approved the following systemic medicines to treat nail fungus:
Diagnosing And Treating Toenail Changes
If you notice changes in the appearance of your toenails,;see a doctor promptly. If a fungal infection is suspected, a sample of the nail can be taken and analyzed by a lab to make a diagnosis. If the test comes back positive, an oral or topical antifungal medication may be prescribed to treat the fungus. Most antifungal medications are effective against most forms of toenail fungus, although treatment can take some time, in part because its hard to deliver any type of medication through the nail plate to the skin under the nail.
Most of the time, the treatment requires the whole nail to grow out, which can take up to a year, says Sheth. Treatment needs to be consistent and long-term if it has any chance of working.
If the test comes back negative for fungus, your doctor may begin investigating other causes for the abnormal appearance of your toenails. Sometimes symptoms involving other parts of the body help point to a diagnosis.
People with yellow nail syndrome, for example, may experience leg swelling or breathing problems. Those with alopecia could see their hair begin to fall out.
And, according to Goad, With psoriasis, patches of red, scaly skin may be seen on the knees, elbows, and face, too. Its usually not limited to just the toenails.
Additional reporting by Susan Jara
Hosiery And Toenail Fungus
Wearing pantyhose can lead to sweaty feet and the potential for a toenail fungal infection. “Nylon hosiery doesn’t absorb sweat, so when wearing hosiery inside a shoe, there’s an increased chance of fungal growth,” Zinkin says. If you must wear hosiery, put some antiperspirant or baby powder on your feet before slipping into your stockings. This will help reduce sweating and the chance of fungus growing.
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What Are The Most Effective Treatments For Toenail Fungus
The experts at Easton Dermatology Associates offer treatment customized to your exact situation, whether youve just noticed an irregularity with your toenail or youve been battling fungus for a while. Treatment options include:
- Prescription oral antifungal medications
- Topical nail cream
- Special antifungal nail polish that allows your nails to breathe
No matter what treatment you adopt, patience is key. It can take several months to clear up toenail fungus because even nails that grow at an average rate dont grow rapidly. We treat your fungus until its a thing of the past, and we also advise you on how to prevent a recurrence.;
Its much easier to solve the problem when youre in the early stages of infection, before it becomes too advanced.;
Do at either of our locations in Easton or Salisbury, Maryland, so we can start helping you eliminate embarrassing and persistent nail fungus problems ASAP. When next summer rolls around, you can be back in those oh-so-chic sandals!
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Nail Infections And Fungal Nail Infections
Infections tend to involve more treatment than other conditions causing nail pain. For infections caused by bacteria, applying an over-the-counter anti-bacterial cream on and around the infected areas of the nail and finger may be enough to resolve pain and other symptoms.
Fungal nail infections can usually be cleared by applying over-the-counter antifungal cream.
More serious infections require medical attention, with stronger antibiotics or antifungal medications. A doctor may prescribe an oral medication.
Fungal Nail Infection Symptoms
Symptoms are different depending on which type of fungal nail infection you have. They usually start mild and get more serious.
- At first, you may only see a white or yellow spot under your nail. Over time, this spreads and can turn your whole nail white, yellow, green, or black.
- The nail may thicken and could be hard to trim.
- It may start to curl up or down or loosen from the nail bed.
- Your nail could become brittle and crumble when you touch it.
- Your nail may become misshapen.
- You may notice a bad smell.
Itâs easy to ignore fungal nail infections at first, since you may not have any pain. But if you donât treat them, it can hurt to put any pressure on the area. If an infection gets bad enough, it could even become hard to walk.
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Treatments For Fungal Nail Infections
Treatment isn’t always needed for;a mild fungal nail;infection because it’s unlikely to cause any further problems and you may feel it’s not worth treating.
Whether you decide to have treatment or not, you should;still practise good foot hygiene to stop the infection getting worse or;spreading to others.
Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you’re;bothered by the appearance of the affected nail, or it’s causing problems such as pain and discomfort. They’ll probably recommend:
- antifungal tablets; tablets taken once or twice a day for several months
- antifungal nail paints special paints applied directly to the nail over several months
- nail softening kits where a paste is used to soften infected parts of the nail, before they’re removed with a scraping device
A procedure to remove the;nail completely may be recommended;in severe cases. Laser treatment, where a high-energy laser is used to destroy the fungus, is also an option. But this is;only available privately;and can be expensive.
You can reduce your risk of developing a fungal nail infection;by:
Nail salon equipment can sometimes be the source of fungal nail infections. If you regularly visit a salon, make sure any equipment used is properly sterilised between uses.
Best Ways To Treat A Nail Fungus
Nail fungus can cause thick, discolored nails, and, for some patients, it can even be painful. An Internet search will bring up plenty of ways to treat the condition, but which ones are best? Dermatologist Dr. Christopher Hull discusses what nail fungus actually is, why its so hard to get rid of, and which treatments work best.
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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.
Take Care Of Your Toes
Use soap and water to wash your feet, and dry well, including between toes. Trim your toenails — straight across — to keep them shorter than the end of your toe. Make sure the tools you use are clean, too. Wash clippers and files with soap and water, then wipe with rubbing alcohol. You might be tempted to cover up discolored nails with polish, but don’t. Your nail bed can’t “breathe,” which keeps fungus from going away.
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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.
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What Are The Potential Complications Of Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus rarely results in serious complications in people who are otherwise healthy. However, many people find the look of toenail fungus embarrassing. People with diabetes, circulation problems, or weakened immune systems have a higher risk of complications. The main one being cellulitisa bacterial infection of the surrounding skin.
Left untreated, toenail fungus can spread to other nails. It can also progress to nail thickening and detachment. This can make walking or wearing shoes painful. Untreated toenail fungus can lead to permanent nail damage as well. 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.
Can Nail Fungal Infections Be Painful
Nail fungal infections are usually not alarming. Discolorations in the form of black spots or white streaks may dictate that your nails are infected. These early signs and symptoms normally do not provide any discomfort, and because of this, they can also be easily dismissed. However, as nail fungus progresses, it only exacerbates the problem.Severe onychomycosis is the end-stage and most advanced form of nail fungal infections. This is not only the most difficult stage to clear, but it is also the type of infection with the highest risk to permanent nail damage, secondary bacterial infection, and eventually gangrene. The prevalence of onychomycosis is increasing. In the United States alone, almost 6 to 12 percent of the population are suffering from this nail problem.
Severe nail fungus usually begins with nail discoloration it might be white, black, yellow, or green. The nails become thick and deform to an unusual shape and texture, making them difficult to trim. The nails health also suffers and the structure starts to become weak, brittle, and crumbly. Later on, the thickness of the nail inflicts pain and discomfort, particularly when placing pressure on the affected area. The pain may start to interfere with your daily activities, like standing, walking, and exercising. Being aware of how severe nail fungus manifests is key to preventing it.
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Cure Toenail Pain From Fungus Infection
Know The Symptoms And Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait to Seek Effective Treatment
A painful, thick, yellow, green, brown or black toenail means you could have a toenail fungus infection.; If you have a toenail fungal infection it won’t go away on its own.; You can’t get rid of it with home remedies or over the counter topical treatments.;;Learn why, and how to cure it by reading more.
Toenail fungus is common and it can develop when dry, brittle nails develop cracks that allow fungus to enter the nail unit.;;A toenail fungus infection most often occurs when excessive moisture gets under your toenail and is trapped by your socks and shoes, allowing fungus to grow and thrive.;;Nail fungus can also be caused by yeast and mold.;
Left untreated toenail fungus can become a foot fungus, spreading from your toenail, to the skin in between your toes, your arch and the heel of your foot.
Scratching it or picking at it can also spread it to your fingers, and then to; other parts of your body.; You can also spread it to other people if you are sharing a shower or tub.
How Can I Stop My Nail Fungus From Returning
Chances are, if youre exposing your feet to the same spaces in which they previously became infected, theyll likely get infected again. Instead of walking barefoot through communal areas like public pools and showers, try wearing flip-flops or other appropriate shower shoes. Just make sure you thoroughly clean and dry your feet afterward.
When you treat yourself to a pedicure, make sure the establishment is clean, licensed, and in accordance with state standards. Are the nail techs sterilizing their equipment between each use? If not, this could be why nail fungus keeps popping up on your toes. Time to find a new favorite spot!
If youve taken medication for nail fungus or used antifungal creams or polishes and stopped using them at the first sign of healthier nails, this could be why your nail fungus keeps coming back. Although it seems like the fungus is gone, some that isnt visible to the naked eye could remain. If treatment is stopped too early, some remnant fungus may continue to grow, which will lead to what is perceived to be another infection.;
If your doctor gives you oral medication, make sure to finish it in accordance with your doctors recommendations. If youre using over-the-counter polish or cream, its recommended that you keep using it up to a couple of weeks after the appearance of a healthy nail.
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Laser Therapy For You
Now that you know the basics on toenail fungus and how laser therapy can help you get rid of it, youre ready to give it a go. Does that sound like a good plan? We hope so. Your toes will;look and feel better and thank you for it.
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.
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Treating Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment may not be necessary in mild cases of fungal nail infection. For more severe or troublesome cases, antifungal medication may be recommended.
A fungal nail infection is unlikely to get better without treatment, but if you’re not bothered by it you might decide it’s not worth treating because treatment can take a long time, may cause side effects, and isn’t always effective.
Whether or not you decide to have treatment, you should still follow the self-help advice below to help stop the condition getting worse or spreading to others.
Will The Oral Medication To Treat Toenail Fungus Hurt My Liver
There are a few different medications available to treat toenail fungus. The most common is Lamisil . Lamisil has been available for over 15 years and has been found to be approximately 85% effective in eliminating toenail fungus. The long-term followup has been fantastic as well.
When Lamisil first came to market, there was concern about the effect on the liver. Over the years, the safety profile has improved and the medication carries no “black box warnings.”As a Houston foot doctor who treats toenail fungus on a daily basis, I do still take a baseline blood test to ensure your liver is functioning in the normal range, since we do know that Lamisil is metabolized; in the liver. If your liver is functioning normally, I am confident and comfortable prescribing the medication.
I understand when people don’t want to take medication because of side effects, but oral Lamisil and its generics are very safe and I have effectively prescribed it for patients from their teenage years until their 90’s, all with excellent results. There are alternatives for oral medication, however. To have your fungal toenails evaluated and to discuss the best treatment for you, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider.
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