The Danger Of Waiting To Treat The Fungus
The greatest danger of not treating the foot or toenail fungus is that it can spread to other parts of the body, such as the hands and groin.
If for some reason you cant treat your toenails or your feet right away, at least use an antifungal topical cream on the surrounding skin, Dr. Ng says. That will help keep it from spreading and keep the skin intact.
Making A Vinegar Soak
If you want to try treating your nail fungus with vinegar, then the best thing to do is soak your foot in a vinegar-water mixture. Diluting the vinegar is important to prevent it from irritating your skin. Try a daily soak and see if it helps clear the infection. If not, then don’t panic. You can still use more conventional treatments.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Fungal Nail Infections
Speak to a pharmacist if the look of your nail bothers you or it’s painful.
They may suggest:
- antifungal nail cream it can take up to 12 months to cure the infection and does not always work
- nail-softening cream it’s used for 2 weeks to soften the nail so the infected part can be scraped off
The infection is cured when you see healthy nail growing back at the base.
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About Fungal Nail Infection
Many people develop a fungal nail infection at some point in their life. It’s not usually serious, but can be unpleasant and difficult to treat.
The infection develops slowly and causes the nail to become discoloured, thickened and distorted.
Toenails are more frequently affected than the fingernails.
The medical name for a fungal nail infection is onychomycosis.
When Should I Call The Doctor
In rare cases, toenail fungus can cause an infection called cellulitis. Without prompt treatment, cellulitis may pose a serious danger to your health.
You should seek treatment guidance from a trusted healthcare provider if you have:
- Circulation problems.
- Redness, pain or pus near the toenail.
- Weakened immune system.
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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.
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.
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Is Toenail Fungus Really Such A Problem
If youre thinking you can just live with it, we dont advise letting toenail fungus go untreated. Its an insidious problem, and without treatment, you have to deal with the discomfort of the nail as well as feeling self-conscious about its unsightliness.
If you let a nail fungus infection go for too long, several problems emerge. The infected nail can become misshapen and increasingly separated from your nail bed. Itching and pain are unpleasant side effects if theyre too severe, you can have trouble wearing shoes or walking.
You need to be especially attentive to treating toenail fungus if your immune system is compromised. If youre living with diabetes, its critical not to ignore the fungus. Even a mild infection like this can snowball into something more serious, like cellulitis, a severe bacterial skin infection.
Another problem is that untreated fungus eventually can spread to either neighboring toenails or to the skin of your foot, causing athletes foot. Possibly the worst outcome of untreated nail fungus is needing to have your nail surgically removed.
When To See A Doctor About Toenail Fungus
If you are experiencing persistent toenail fungus or pain is present, you may need to see a specialist. A dermatologist or podiatrist may be able to assess your symptoms and send a small sample of the affected toenail or flesh to a laboratory to be analyzed as there are various types of fungi and yeasts that cause onychomycosis. Knowing the specific cause of your foot fungus can help identify what route to take to treat your condition.
Nail changes can also be caused by underlying conditions, like psoriasis and diabetes, so its important to seek professional medical advice if your condition persists or worsens. Bacterial and fungal infection of skin in diabetes patients often result in hospital admissions, and in severe cases, can result in amputations. If you are at a higher risk for infection, you should skip home remedies and seek professional medical treatment.
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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.
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.
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Why Don’t Topical Antifungals Work Better
Unfortunately, currently available topical agents, such as amorolfine 5% and ciclopirox 8%, have low efficacy , . This low efficacy can mainly be attributed to the inability of the drug to penetrate through the nail plate to the nail bed where the infection resides . Thickened nails, extensive involvement of the entire nail, lateral disease, and yellow spikes contribute to a poor response to topical treatment . shows an example of distal subungual onychomycosis, trimmed to demonstrate nail thickening.
Further complicating the scenario is the fact that certain antifungals will bind to the nail plate and thus may not be available at the site of infection, which is the nail bed. For example, terbinafine has been shown to accumulate rapidly in the nail, reaching a maximum of 0.39 mg/g and persisting up to 2 months following the end of treatment . In this regard, Ryder et al. developed an in vitro nail model that showed that the cidal action of terbinafine, when tested against an established dermatophyte infection in the presence of human nail, was in fact less effective than in conventional microdilution assays where no nail powder is present .
Why You Should Never Let Toenail Fungus Go Untreated
Have you retired those adorable strappy sandals, even though theyre the perfect complement to your summery outfits? They definitely wont work with whats going on with your toenails so youve had to opt for a closed-toe option. Toenail fungus is definitely not a good look.
There are plenty of home remedies, but they dont seem to work. And nail fungus doesnt just go away on its own. Fortunately, the team at Easton Dermatology Associates can address any nail fungus issue you may have with a diverse menu of treatment options. We customize our approach to your particular infections history and severity.
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Examples Of What You Can Include:
While you may still continue to eat your regular meals, heres a list of foods that you can additionally include to heal your toenail fungus faster than usual.
Laser Treatment Compared To Other Options
Laser treatments are typically more effective than other ways of treating onychomycosis. This infection can be treated with topical antifungal medications or oral antifungals, and there are over-the-counter, as well as prescription options. Oral antifungals cause systemic side effects and are not totally effective for curing onychomycosis. Topical treatments tend to be safe, but are not very effective.
Research shows there’s an approximately 45% improvement of onychomycosis with topical medicine and approximately 40% to 66% improvement with oral medication.
However, there does seem to be a range in the efficacy with all of these treatments. Using them consistently while avoiding side effects can be tedious. And combining treatments may be more effective than using a single treatment approach.
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Medical Complications From Untreated Fungal Toenail Infection
Without proper treatment to stop your toenail fungal infection from getting worse, or spreading, complications will eventually develop. Fungal infections of your toenail can spread to the surrounding skin and when your skin becomes cracked, bacteria can enter and cause an abscess.
An abscess on the toe is a tender mass generally surrounded by a colored area from pink to deep red. They are often easy to feel by touching. Inside they are full of pus, bacteria and debris.
Untreated toenail fungal infections can lead to cellulitis and should be treated immediately with antibiotics. Untreated skin infections of the toe may lead to severe cellulitis and if the infection enters the bloodstream it can become septicemia, also known as bacteremia or blood poisoning. Once the infection enters the bloodstream the bacteria and their toxins are carried through the bloodstream to your entire body. If the bacteria levels become high enough, septicemia can quickly become life threatening.
A good reason to seek treatment if you suspect you have a toenail fungal infection is because of the similarity of symptoms for differing diagnosis of more serious toenail conditions. You may have a toenail fungus, but you could also be experiencing similar symptoms of a toenail viral infection , complications from toenail trauma, a pre-malignant lesion or, more seriously, melanoma of the nail bed.
What Is An Anti
An anti-fungal diet is a diet that helps you fight fungi by improving your bodys immunity. The diet excludes the foods that help the fungi to grow.
It promotes the consumption of certain oils and ingredients that can improve the activity of good gut bacteria. Thus, the body begins flushing out fungi.
An anti-fungal dietalso requires you to ensure that your meals are nutrient-dense and you consume vitamins or minerals supplements if needed.
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Experiencing Nail Fungus In Its Early Stages
Fungal nail infections are becoming a common nail problem, especially if you frequent public bathrooms, gym, saunas, or spas. People often dismiss nail fungus because it generally does not give any discomfort and the first signs are often hard to detect. Brown or black spots and white streaks may signify an infection in your nail. It may later on progress to more evident changes wherein the nail thickens or have a rougher surface. Although not bothersome, leaving a fungal nail infection untreated can make it harder and more frustrating to cure in the end.Total dystrophic onychomycosis, or severe nail fungal infections, is the end-stage of this nail disease. Fungus has started to infect larger portions of the nail causing it to become deformed, brittle, and weak. More often than not, it starts to become painful and even emit some type of foul odor. There is increased possibility for permanent damage to the nail. The infection may also spread to other parts of your body and create more serious illnesses.
See A Dermatologist To Pinpoint The Problem
Foot fungus wont just go away on its own, Dr. Ng says. If you think you have foot or toenail fungus, see your dermatologist, she says. There are several tests that your dermatologist can perform to identify exactly whats going on.
Its important to be aware that there are other diseases which can cause nail changes, she says. For example, we do see things like squamous cell skin cancers in the nail beds and even melanomas, which have a brownish or blackish discoloration.
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How Long Does It Take To Cure Nail Fungus
When it comes to nail fungus, its important to differentiate between the time it take to treat or cure it versus the time it takes for a new, healthy nail to fully emerge.
It usually takes a few weeks to a few months to eradicate the underlying infection. This is most frequently accomplished by a combination of topical and oral antifungal medications. Because the fungus is protected from topical medications via the nail plate, and semi-protected from oral medications due to toes receiving limited circulation, the process is a bit slower than it might be for other areas of the body.
However, its important to remember that killing the fungus wont repair a nail that has already been damaged by it. Unfortunately, youll have to wait for it to grow out naturally, which could take several months.
While the full recovery period may be lengthy, it shouldnt discourage you! In time, a healthy and clear nail may grow in and return, bringing long-awaited relief and peace of mind. Get started on your treatment by calling Family Foot & Ankle Center at 689-3317 today.
Early Treatment Is Key To Preventing Severe Onychomycosis
Nail fungal infections are best treated in its earliest stages. Once you spot any of the mentioned early signs and symptoms, seek the advice of your health professional. Usually, for early onychomycosis, treatment may simply be in the form of topical anti-fungal solutions. EmoniNail is a perfect example of a topical treatment that contains safe and effective ingredients, such as undecylenic acid and tea tree oil, that will likely kill fungi and improve the nails overall health.
Treating onychomycosis in recent times has advanced and the availability of surgical treatments, laser therapies, and other oral anti-fungal medications are now out in the market. Although not necessary in early onychomycosis, they also prove to be successful in eliminating fungal nail infections. These types of treatments are best recommended under the supervision of your doctor. Visit your physicians to know what treatment works best for you.
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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.