How To Treat Fungal Nail Effectively
Owing to the high recurrence rate of fungal nail infections,;pharmacy professionals should be able to advise patients on effective treatment and preventative and appropriate self-care strategies to avoid re-infection.
Fungal nail infection is a mycotic infection caused by fungal invasion of the nail structure and is one of the most common nail disorders, representing half of nail abnormalities in adults. Its prevalence in Europe is around 4.3% over all age groups and 15.5% of all nail dystrophies in children. OM is more commonly diagnosed in men and older people, affecting 2050% of people aged over 60 years. An increased incidence among older people may be attributed to multiple factors, including reduced peripheral circulation, diabetes, inactivity, relative immunosuppression, and reduced nail growth and quality. Toenails are affected more commonly than fingernails.
This article will cover the causes, types and treatment of OM, practical information to help guide patient consultations and when to refer to podiatry.
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How To Cure Toenail Fungus: Can Vinegar Help
This article was co-authored by Zora Degrandpre, ND. Dr. Degrandpre is a Licensed Naturopathic Physician in Vancouver, Washington. She is also a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. She received her ND from the National College of Natural Medicine in 2007.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 19 testimonials and 88% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,073,560 times.
Nail fungus refers to a fungal infection that starts underneath your toenails. It could cause discoloration, thickening, or crumbling on one or more of your nails. This is a frustrating problem, so youll naturally want to get rid of nail fungus as soon as possible. One remedy you may have heard of is soaking your foot in vinegar to clear the infection. Vinegar is acidic, so it will kill bacteria and fungus.XResearch source However, this remedy has very limited success because the vinegar cant penetrate under the nail. You can try it if you want to, but visit a podiatrist for further treatment if you dont see any results in 2 weeks.
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How To Prevent Both Foot And Toenail Fungus
While toenail fungus and foot fungus arent the same condition, the following tips can help you prevent both, says Sundling:
- Practice good hygiene, such as keeping your feet clean.
- Alternate your shoes during the week. Your feet sweat all day long. Alternating your shoes allows them to dry out, so the fungus cant survive.
- Wear moisture-wicking socks that help dry out shoes and kill fungus. You can find these at running stores and athletic stores. If your socks are exceptionally sweaty, changing them more than once per day can help.
- Wear shoes in public places like locker rooms, pools, and gyms to limit exposure to fungus.
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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Erase Discoloration With A Clorox Soak
Sounds wacky, but soaking your feet in diluted bleach packs a one-two punch that brightens fungus-yellowed toenails while stopping an infection in its tracks. Credit goes to hypochlorous acid, a natural antibacterial compound found in bleach, reveals Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. It eradicates fungus spores as it gently lightens darkened keratin proteins in toenails. To do: Stir no more than one tablespoon of bleach into eight cups of warm water, then soak feet in the mixture for 10 minutes a day for two weeks.
Signs Of A Toenail Fungal Infection
- Discolored toenails. Nails can be brown, black, white, or yellow. Usually a small area changes color at first and it slowly spreads.
- Thickened toenails. Over time, the nail becomes thick, material builds up under the nail, and the nail can develop an irregular shape, grooves, or a crumbling appearance.
- Affects one or more toenails. The fungus may spread to other toenails. The big toe is most commonly affected. The fungus can also occur in fingernails.
- Starts at the end or side of the toenail. The infection gradually spreads toward the cuticle.
- Usually painless unless there are skin changes or injury to the nail bed or if shoes press on the thick nail.
- Athletes foot. Some people will also have skin fungus on their feet, which looks like red, peeling skin between the toes.
Patients may say that they are embarrassed to go to the pool or the beach, or they avoid wearing sandals. They describe their nails as thick, crumbling, and abnormally colored. One patient described their nails as looking like an animals horn, which is pretty accurate. But they are so thrilled when they see results from treatment! Dr. Anne Jacobsen
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Hydrogen Peroxide Foot Soaks
The acidity of hydrogen peroxide fights toenail fungus. Fill a small bowl or bucket with one cup of peroxide against six to eight cups of filtered warm water. Throw in dried herbs like chamomile and lavender to soothe irritation, and add a few tablespoons of sea salt as a natural antiseptic.
Soak your feet in the water-peroxide mixture for up to 45 minutes. Finish the treatment by rinsing your feet in filtered water, and then thoroughly dry your feet with a clean towel. Repeat the water-peroxide soak twice daily until the infection improves.
S To Give Yourself A Pedicure With Toenail Fungus
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How To Give Yourself The Perfect Pedicure With Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is unsightly and difficult to heal. If your toenail fungus makes you self-conscious about your feet, follow these tips to safely give yourself a pedicure at home.
Youre ready to give yourself a relaxing pedicureand then you see your toenail is yellow-tinged, discolored with spots, or peeling. Before you think about buffing or filing off those unsightly marks, its more likely than not that youre dealing with an infection.
Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is a common but embarrassing foot infection caused most often by dermatophyte fungi. This type of fungus multiplies in warm, moist environments and within cracks and cuts. Rough, unhealthy feet are particularly prone to developing toenail fungus, but healthy people of all genders can also suffer from this infection. In fact, professional athletes commonly suffer from fungal foot infections like onychomycosis.
Though notoriously difficult to treat, fungal infections can be eliminated with time and patience. This guide explains how to give yourself a pedicure with toenail fungus as you navigate the healing process.
When To Refer To Podiatry
Before initiating topical or oral therapy, patients should ideally be referred to a podiatrist for nail trimming and debridement. This assists with removing as much fungus as possible and improves topical drug penetration. Debridement alone cannot be recommended for the treatment of OM; patients using a combination of debridement and topical nail lacquer have shown a significant improvement in mycological cure compared with debridement only. Patients with nail trauma owing to footwear, dystrophic toenails affecting other toes or who describe discomfort when walking owing to thickened toenails should also be referred.
When there is treatment failure with topical, oral and combination therapies, a podiatrist may be able to carry out a chemical or surgical nail avulsion .
If there is doubt over the original diagnosis, or where no improvement has been seen with treatment, pharmacists should refer patients to a podiatrist or their GP.
Supported by RB
RB provided financial support in the production of this content.
The authors were paid by The Pharmaceutical Journal to write this article and full editorial control was maintained by the journal at all times.
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How To Avoid Spreading Fungus
- Studies have shown that toenail fungus easily spreads in close quarters. Isolate your infection by using the same foot soak basin for soaks and pedicures, and cleanse the basin thoroughly with Clorox bleach or Lysol. If possible, dump the used water outside.
- Dont share nail tools with family or friends. Nail clippers and files, cuticle clippers and pushers, and buffers are magnets for fungi.
- Opt for disposal items to remove polish and dry your toes, such as cotton pads. If you use rags or towels, immediately put them in the washerbut first, make sure its empty. You dont want fungal spores from an infected toenail contaminating your undergarments!
- As you give yourself a pedicure, rest your feet on paper towels instead of your bath mat. Wearing disposable flip-flops is the better option if you dont want to scrub the bathroom floor or tub.
- Leaving your toenails unpainted allows the nail bed to breathe. But if you must embellish your toes , plan on throwing the polish away afterward.
Preventive Measures To Check Toenail Fungus
- Dont share your socks and shoes.
- After touching infected nail, wash your hands properly.
- Make sure that the tools, you are using for the purpose of pedicure or manicure, are sterilized.
- Wear sandals or shoes in public pools and places.
- Dont bite the nails.
- Make use of anti-fungal powders or sprays.
- Instead of trimming your nails with your fingers, use a clean nail clipper.
- Change your socks daily.
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How Will A Medical Professional Remove A Toenail
If you dont have a podiatrist, start with a visit to a doctor. Be sure to let the doctor know if you have diabetes or another condition that can affect the feet.
After a physical examination of your toes, your doctor may find it necessary to order an X-ray. This will help assess the structure of the toe to see if theres more damage below the surface.
Your doctor can determine if you may benefit from other treatments or partial removal of the nail.
Clean Socks And Shoes
Regularly changing your socks and shoes can also cut down on the growth of unwanted foot fungus. Both socks and athletic shoes can also be washed in hot water to rid the growth of yeasts and fungi that may be growing on the fabric. Some shoes can be machine dried. Drying shoes in the sun is another option when cleaning footwear.
Adding a half-cup of baking soda or one cup of vinegar to the washing machine can help eliminate bacteria or fungus on socks or shoes.
Boots and other footwear that are not machine washable could be wiped out with a vinegar and water solution or sprayed with an over-the-counter antifungal spray. Medicated powders are also helpful in treating shoes for foot fungus.;
Allowing the feet to breathe by taking off shoes and socks when possible can prevent fungal growth. Protect your feet by wearing breathable footwear and clean socks. Antimicrobial socks and shoes made from bamboo, copper, or specialty fabrics are also available. They can help reduce unwanted bacteria and yeast from growing in your footwear.;
A proactive approach to keeping your feet clean and dry can prevent the spread of toenail fungus. You can wash or soak feet with warm soapy water or a foot bath using everyday household items. Soaking your feet in an all-natural, homeopathic concoction can be beneficial in reducing or eliminating toenail fungus.;
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Stop This Skin Infection In Its Tracks With These Over
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Verywell / Sabrina Jiang
Toenail fungus is a common fungal condition that often starts after a rash on the foot spreads to the nails. When mild, it looks like white and yellow spots growing under the nail beds. But if left untreated, the fungus can grow severely by hardening the nails and spreading to other toes.
The fungus often begins in the form of athlete’s foot between the toes or on the soles of the feet. At this stage, the fungal infection is easier to treat with over-the-counter medication. But Shari Lipner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine, told Verywell Health toenail fungus can be difficult to treat because of how slow the nails grow. The more severe the toenail fungus, the thicker the nail, and the more nails involved makes it that much harder to treat the nails even with effective therapies, she says.;
Diagnosing the fungal infection early is key to make treatments effective. Dr. Lipner recommends visiting a board-certified dermatologist to properly treat the infection if it grows to be too severe.;
Here are a few of the best over-the-counter toenail fungus treatments on the market.
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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Is It Possible To Prevent The Recurrence Of Nail Fungus
Tinea pedis, also known as athlete’s foot or foot fungus, can cause recurrence of fungal nails. Therefore, it is important to manage this condition. One can apply over-the-counter antifungal medicines such as clotrimazole or terbinafine cream as directed to affected skin. Keeping footwear and socks clean can be helpful. You can also use portable UV light sanitizers to disinfect shoes.
Get Rid Of Grooves With Vicks Vaporub
Dont put away the cold remedy yet! Vicks VapoRub is proven to cure thickened, wavy nails caused by toenail fungus for 83 percent of study participants in 12 weeks, according to U.S. Air Force scientists. The salves abundance of natural antifungals work in tandem to smother trouble-causing spores. Plus, at $5, it saves patients as much as $876 compared to prescription treatments, says study lead Richard Derby, M.D. Tip: Repurpose an old toothbrush to work the product into the nooks and crannies under and around your toenails once daily.
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Nail Anatomy And Onychomycosis Infection
Figure 1 shows the composition of the nail, including the nail plate , nail bed and nail matrix.
Figure 1: Nail anatomy and physiology
The nail plate and nail bed are joined by layers of hard, translucent, keratinised cells. The nail bed and nail matrix are vascular components of the nail, with nail cells located within the nail matrix where the nail plate is formed. The thickness of the nail plate determines the length of the matrix
- Apply cosmetic nail varnishes or artificial nails;
- Walk without footwear in public areas ;
- Cut nails too short.;