How To Determine Types Of Nail Fungus Infections
The most difficult thing to do when you want to use the best nail fungus medication is determining the types of nail fungus infections. However, if you do visit a podiatrist, he or she can easily tell the type fungi that have attacked you from simply studying a piece of your nail or debris under the microscope.
This is the only way to determine the medicines that would work without fail in diminishing your type of fungus. Furthermore, depending on the drugs you will be put on, you may require supervision by the doctor regularly to ensure that your vital organs such as the liver and kidney are in good shape.
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.
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Types Of Fungal Nail Infections
There are four main kinds of fungal nail infection. Each looks slightly different:
- Distal or lateral subungual onychomycosis. This is the most common kind. It results from a fungus called a dermatophyte. You can get it in your fingernails or toenails. It starts in the nail bed, underneath the nail. Youâll see a yellowish colored area that spreads from the edges of the nail to the center, and places where it comes apart from the nail bed.
- White superficial onychomycosis. This is less common and only affects the nail surface, mainly on your toenails. It starts as white spots, which become powdery and cause the nail to crumble.
- Proximal subungual onychomycosis. This appears first as white spots in the center of the nail bed at the cuticle. They move outward as the finger or toenail grows. Itâs rare and usually affects people who have immune system problems, like HIV infection.
- Candidal onychomycosis. Yeast causes this infection that usually affects your fingernails. The area around the nails is often swollen and inflamed, and the nails may come off entirely. It tends to happen to nails that have been damaged by an injury or another infection.
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What Is Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium, is a fungal infection that affects the nails. It may begin as a discoloration on the tip of the nail, usually yellow, and nails eventually become darker in color, thick, and can crumble at the edges.
The common symptoms of toenail fungus:
- The darkening of nails
- Brittle, ragged, or crumbling nails
- A lack of shine
- Pain in the tips of toes
- Foul odor
In some cases, infected nails may separate from the nail bed. This is called onycholysis and is painless in most cases, but should be treated at the root of the cause. Though onycholysis can also be caused by sunburn, allergies, or a yeast infection under the nails, toenail fungus is also a leading cause. If youve experienced separation of the nail from the nail bed and need help with treatment, please dont hesitate to give our Bethesda, MD or Springfield, VA podiatry office a call. We can help your toenail fungus.
When Should I See A Podiatrist For Toenail Fungus
You should never wait to see a podiatrist if you suspect you have toenail fungus. Fungal infections are notoriously difficult to treat, and the longer you wait, the more time the fungus has to spread.
Your provider at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers evaluates your condition and makes recommendations for treatment based on your unique symptoms and overall health. Treatment frequently begins with topical medications. If the topical treatment isnt effective, your provider may prescribe oral antifungal medications.
The podiatrists at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers provide another effective treatment to get at the root of toenail fungus: the HyperBlue PLUS® laser treatment system. With HyperBlue PLUS, the laser beam travels through your toenail to kill the fungus without damaging your nail or surrounding skin.
You may need more than one laser treatment session to eliminate the fungus. After your treatments with HyperBlue PLUS are finished and the fungus is dead, your nail clears away the damaged nail by growing out with new nail keratin.
If your nails are crusted with keratin debris, your podiatrist may remove it to improve the appearance of your nails. In severe toenail fungus cases, toenail surgery may be required to temporarily remove the infected nail so the nail bed can be treated directly.
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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:
Acrylic Nail Fungus Symptoms
If you love to achieve longer and stronger nails with artificial nails, then you stand at risk of acquiring nail fungus. Acrylic nail fungus symptoms occur if you make use of nail technicians who are not professionals to apply the artificial nails on your fingers or toes. Similarly, if the acrylic nails are applied using unhygienic tools, you are likely to contract fungus.
Furthermore, you should not use artificial nails for more than a month. This is because an extended time of use renders the natural nails vulnerable to a fungal infection. Use the acrylic nails whenever possible for example when going to a special event, but not all the time because they will cause your natural nails not to breathe.
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When Should You See A Doctor
It’s tempting to dismiss toenail fungus as an unsightly but mainly harmless problem. Like so many other health issues, though, ignoring it will only make things worse down the line.
“You should see a podiatrist when you notice the problem and treat it early,” advises Dr. Spielfogel. “If left untreated, which is very common, the infection will spread to the rest of the nail and eventually spread to the other nails.”
Once you make an appointment, your podiatrist will give your feet a thorough examination and will probably take a biopsy, or sample, of your nail to be sent away for testing. This will help your doctor confirm that you have an infection and not some other issue, as well as figure out exactly what type of infection you have, Dr. Spielfogel explains.
From there, your doctor can work with you on a treatment plan to get rid of your toenail fungus for good.
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Types Of Common Fungal Nail Infections
In general, there are four types of fungal infections that affect the toes. These include:Distal subungual onychomycosis : This is the most commonly diagnosed and treated fungal infection. Also known as Athletes Foot, this infection spreads across the nail bed, which causes the nail to become discolored and weak.White superficial onychomycosis : Far less common than Athletes Foot, WSO causes white patches to appear across the entire nail.Candida onychomycosis: This chronic fungus is usually caused by trauma, and it causes the toenails to become bulbous or enlarged.Proximal subungual onychomycosis : This fungal infection causes yellow or white spots to appear near the base of the toenail.
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Are There Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus
The Internet is filled with anecdotal information on how to cure toenail fungus using home remedies. Vinegar is a commonly recommended home remedy. Some people apply various oils such as tea tree oil, coconut oil, essential oils, and oil of cedar leaf to their nails as well. The effectiveness of these home remedies is highly doubtful. Application of household bleach and hydrogen peroxide is also not recommended due to lack of evidence that these treatments work. These agents can also cause unwanted skin irritation. Thickened nails that have been affected by fungus can be difficult to trim. Using topical urea cream will soften the nail and make it easier to trim. These creams do not require a prescription.
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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!
How Do I Know If I Have A Fungal Nail Infection
Because other infections can affect the nail and mimic symptoms of a fungal nail infection, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to see a doctor. Theyll take a scraping of the nail and look under a microscope for signs of fungus.
In some cases, your doctor may send the sample to a lab for analysis and identification.
Over-the-counter products arent usually recommended to treat nail infections since they dont provide reliable results. Instead, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication, such as:
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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:
Are There Different Types Of Toenail Fungus
Yeast infection: The yeast Candida albicans can cause toenail infection. This one is relatively rare as it mostly occurs in children with a genetic disorder of the immune system in which an extensive Candida infection affects the scalp, mouth, torso, and nails.
White islands: An extremely common infection , this is a superficial toenail fungus that can spread to the nail bed in which cloudy white islands are developed on the nail.
Distal toenail infection: The most common cause for toenail infection is when the tip of the nail lifts from the nail bed, allowing fungus to enter the tissue. This can be caused simply by wearing shoes that are too tight and is called distal subungual onychomycosis.
Proximal toenail infection: Often seen in people with conditions that affect the immune system, sometimes the fungus can enter the nail bed from the cuticle area.
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Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nails
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.
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!
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How Is Toenail Fungus Treated
Toenail fungus is notoriously tricky to treat. You may need to treat the condition for several months to get rid of the fungus. Still, toenail fungus often comes back.
A dermatologist or podiatrist can explain your treatment options. If you have a mild case that doesnt bother you, your provider may recommend no treatment.
Toenail fungus treatment options include:
- Oral antifungal medication: You take prescribed medication, such terbinafine , itraconazole and fluconazole , to treat the fungi. You will need to take this medication every day for several months . Your provider may use blood tests to check for potential medication side effects. These medications can affect the liver and interact with other medications, so oral antifungals are not for everyone.
- Topical medication: You regularly apply a medication right on the nail. The medication treats the fungi over time. Topical medications are most effective when paired with oral medications.
- Laser treatments: Your provider directs a high-tech laser beam and special lights at the toenail to treat the fungus. Lasers are FDA approved for temporary increase of clear nail in nail fungus but is not a cure. Cure rates for laser treatment are lower than oral and topical mediations so they are not typically used as first line treatments for nail fungus.
How Are Fungal Nail Infections Treated
Treatment isnt always necessarydepending on the severity of your conditionbut it is recommended simply because it might be contagious. Not only can you spread the condition to someone else, but depending on the type of fungus, can also spread to infect your other toes.
For mild cases of toenail fungus, your doctor will likely start with conservative treatments. These may include prescription anti-fungal oral medications or topical solutions. For patients who exhibit severe symptomsor for those who do not respond to medicationthe doctor may recommend nail avulsion surgery. During this procedure, the nail plate is removed and chemical treatments are introduced to treat the infection.Contact your podiatrist for more information or to schedule a consultation.
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Who Gets Toenail Fungal Infections
A fungus can invade the toenails of anyone at any age, but it is far more common in older adults. Once you hit 60, your chances of getting a toenail fungus increase to about 75 percent. The odds are higher because blood flow is reduced as we get older, which slows nail growth. Nails become more dry and brittle, causing them to crack.
A fungus can enter through a break in the skin or under or beside the toenail. And quite frankly, toenails just get more difficult to reach and trim as our flexibility declines.
Longer nails are more prone to trauma, so older adults who may have trouble trimming their nails are at risk for trauma and subsequent infection, says dermatologist Shari Lipner, MD, associate professor of clinical dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York.