A Family History Of Toenail Fungus
“Toenail fungal infection can be affected by heredity and some families are more prone to it than others. In these cases, toenail fungus is sometimes seen at an earlier age,” says Cary Zinkin, DPM, a podiatrist in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, toenail fungus is most common in men over age 60. If you have a family history of toenail fungal infections, take time to inspect your feet daily and see a doctor promptly if you suspect toenail fungus.
Runners And Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungal infections are often a health issue for runners. “Distance runners sweat quite a bit,” Zinkin says. And sweaty socks and tight running shoes create the perfect moist environment for the growth of toenail fungus. Try using special socks that wick away moisture to keep feet dry. It’s also smart to alternate running shoes and allow each pair to dry out completely between wearings.
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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What The Research Tells Us
Research shows a similar effect among three widely used oral antifungal medications terbinafine, griseofulvin, and azoles, although all produce side effects. Overall, terbinafine appears to have a slightly better cure rate than either the azoles and griseofulvin, and slightly fewer side effects which commonly include headaches, viral infections and nausea . Both terbinafine and the azoles have a similar ability to prevent the recurrence of infection . Griseofulvin has a similar cure rate to the azoles, but produces more side effects, including headaches, stomach disturbances, loss of taste, nausea, and allergic reactions .If you have a fungal nail infection there are oral antifungal medications available that may help cure the fungus and get you back to enjoying open toed shoes again!
Toenail Fungus And Other Health Conditions
Some chronic medical conditions may increase the risk of a toenail fungal infection. These include a history of poor circulation, diabetes, the human immunodeficiency virus , or any other illness that may compromise your immune system or interfere with blood flow to your toes. If you have a chronic health condition, take extra precautions to keep your feet clean and dry.
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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.
What Happens If You Leave A Fungal Nail Infection Untreated
It is uncommon for an infected nail to cause severe pain or permanent disfigurement, but this does occur in some cases. If left untreated, fungal nail infections can cause difficulties with walking, exercising or manual tasks such as typing. The main symptoms of onychomycosis include the nail becoming: Brittle.
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Top 3 Reasons To Treat Nail Fungus
One of the most common reasons patients want to treat their nail fungus is to improve the appearance of their nails.
This is especially true of fingernails, but even toenails can be a concern during the summer when they are more visible. Nail fungus can cause embarrassment and some sufferers stop activities, such as yoga or swimming, so that others will not see their toenails.
Pain and Mobility
If left untreated, fungal nail infections can cause pain and mobility problems. These can occur as the nails thicken when the infection progresses. It may become uncomfortable to wear closed shoes and to walk, exercise or stand. For this reason, early treatment is recommended before the infection becomes more severe or has spread to other toenails.
Recurrence and Transmission
Although nail fungus rarely causes serious health risks, the nail can become a fungal reservoir leading to recurrent fungal infections of the skin. These can cause fissures or cracks, leaving the feet more vulnerable to secondary bacterial infections. People with a weakened immune system, such as diabetes or peripheral vascular disease, may be more susceptible to both fungal infections and other secondary infections, resulting from it such as cellulitis.
What Causes Nail Fungus
Usually, nail fungus occurs when fungus enters the nail through a small trauma in the nail. Nail fungus is not caused by poor hygiene. Nail fungus can be spread from person to person. It may be hard to determine exactly where or how a fungal infection is acquired. However, a warm, wet place is a good place for a fungus to grow.
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What Are The Causes Of Toenail Fungus
Essentially, there are three types of fungus that can cause toenails to become infected: yeast, mold, and dermatophyte. A yeast toenail infection is usually white, a mold infection is generally a dull brown, and a dermatophyte infection is generally yellow. These various causes have different treatment options, so its important to find out exactly what kind of toenail fungus you have before taking any severe measures to treat it.
Living With A Nail Fungal Infection
If you have a nail fungal infection, some things can help:
- Keep your nails cut short and file down any thick areas.
- Dont use the same nail trimmer and file on healthy nails and infected nails. If you have your nails professionally manicured, bring your own nail file and trimmer from home.
- Wear waterproof gloves for wet work . Wear 100% cotton gloves for dry work.
- Wear socks made of wicking material . This pulls moisture away from the skin. Change your socks when they are damp from sweat or if your feet get wet. Put on clean, dry socks every day. Put over-the-counter antifungal foot powder inside your socks to keep your feet dry.
- Wear shoes with good support and a wide toe area. Dont wear pointed shoes that press your toes together.
- Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, such as locker rooms.
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Foot Pain And Discomfort
Generally, nail fungus is painless which can lead it to being ignored and left untreated. Nail fungal infections make the nails thickened and deformed. Initially, they might not seem worrying, but ignoring a nail fungus can become painful overtime. The pain begins when the thickening of the nail causes a hindrance when wearing certain footwear. There might be difficulty in walking, and change in footwear may be deemed necessary.
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.
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Boots And Toenail Fungus
Your job could be putting you in jeopardy of a toenail fungal infection, especially if you’re required to wear sturdy, heavy boots with poor ventilation. These shoes create a warm, sweaty environment that’s perfect for the development of toenail fungus. “Any occupation that causes or allows the feet to become sweaty or wet puts the worker at risk for a toenail fungal infection,” Dr. Zinkin says. “Organisms that cause both toenail fungus and athlete’s foot grow and thrive in a dark, moist place.”
To help minimize the risk of toenail fungus, alternate several pairs of work boots or shoes and allow each pair to dry after wearing. Also be sure to change your socks frequently even during the workday so that feet stay dry.
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.
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What Is Onychomycosis
Onychomycosis is a fungal nail infection which can affect the toenails and/or fingernails and which occurs in about 10 percent of adults in the United States.Onychomycosis more commonly affects toenails rather than fingernails.
There are several different types of fungal nail infection, depending on the kind of fungus causing the infection. Onychomycosis or infected nails are most often caused by a type of parasitic fungi called dermatophyte fungi.
Most types of onychomycosis have the same signs of infection: the infected nail usually becomes thick and discoloured. This process generally starts at the tip of the nail and progresses downwards towards the root.
As the infection progresses, the affected nail can become itchy and/or slightly painful. Infected nails may become crumbly, and it is not uncommon for part or all of the infected nail to break off. Treatment usually involves keeping the nail clean and taking a course of topical antifungal medication.
Causes Of Nail Fungus
With fungal nail infections, the main cause is typically
Certain behaviors and preexisting conditions that can affect your risk of nail fungus include:
- old age
There are many overlaps between nail fungus and nail cancer. Since its easy to mistake cancer of the nail for a fungal infection, you should see a doctor immediately to get a definitive diagnosis.
See a doctor immediately if you suspect you have toenail fungus or subungual melanoma.
Since the prognosis of subungual melanoma gets worse the longer it takes to diagnose, its better to be safe and get any possible symptoms checked out and cleared as soon as they appear.
Fungal infections are not considered life-threatening, but the 5-year survival rate for subungual melanoma can vary dramatically depending on how early the cancer is identified. According to the Canada Dermatology Association, chances of recovery can range anywhere from 16 to 80 percent .
If you wait too long for diagnosis and treatment, theres a risk of the cancer spreading throughout the bodys organs and lymph nodes.
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You Can Prevent Fungal Nail Infections By Taking These Simple Precautions:
- Exercise proper hygiene and regularly inspect your feet and toes.
- Keep your feet clean and dry.
- Wear shower shoes in public facilities whenever possible.
- Clip nails straight across so that the nail does not extend beyond the tip of the toe.
- Use a quality foot powder in conjunction with shoes that fit well and are made of materials that breathe.
- Avoid wearing excessively tight hosiery, which promotes moisture. Socks made of synthetic fiber tend to “wick” away moisture faster than cotton or wool socks, especially for those with more active lifestyles.
- Disinfect home pedicure tools and don’t apply polish to nails suspected of infection.
Depending on the type of infection you have, over-the-counter liquid antifungal agents may not prevent a fungal infection from recurring. A topical or oral medication may need to be prescribed, and the diseased nail matter and debris removed, a process called debridement. Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medications.In severe cases, surgical treatment may be required to remove the infected nail. Permanent removal of a chronically painful nail, which has not responded to any other treatment, permits the fungal infection to be cured and prevents the return of a deformed nail.
Contact Foot and Ankle Associates of Southwest Virginia, P.C. today at 344-3668 for more information on Toenail Fungus Treatment in Salem, VA.
Examining The Causes Symptoms And Treatment Of Toenail Fungus
It is important to keep your body healthy, from your head right down to your toes. Toenail fungus is a common condition that can impact the health of your toenails and lead to pain and embarrassment. If you are concerned about toenail fungus, schedule an appointment with a foot doctor in Sugar Land to have your feet examined. You can also find out more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for toenail fungus below.
Nail fungus is a type of fungal infection that can take root in the space between your nails and your skin. Toenail fungal infections are more common than fingernail infections, as the toes are often confined in socks and shoes, which provide an ideal environment for fungal growth. Toenail fungus is often spread in warm, damp areas, such as in locker rooms and around public swimming pools.
Toenail fungus can have a variety of effects on the nails. This type of infection can cause the toenails to become discolored and yellowed. Infected nails may also thicken as the infection spreads. Other common symptoms which indicate that you should schedule an appointment with your podiatrist include nails that are distorted, dull, and brittle. Toenail fungus may affect just one of the nails on a foot, or can spread to several nails. You may also feel pain in your toes or notice a foul odor coming from your toenails if you are suffering from toenail fungus.
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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 athletes 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.
Youre more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you:
- dont 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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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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Complications Of Toenail Fungus
If your fungus advances to a severe phase, it may become painful and the damage to your toenail could be permanent. Its also possible that the fungal infection could spread to other parts of your body, particularly if youre taking medications or have medical conditions that suppress your immune system response.
Diabetics have an increased risk for serious complications from any condition affecting the feet, due to potential blood vessel and nerve damage. Minor foot injuries can be slow to heal while progressing unnoticed due to reduced sensations in your feet. Toenail fungus significantly increases the risk to your feet.
Locker Rooms And Toenail Fungus
If you’re a swimmer, you needn’t worry about a chlorinated pool increasing your risk of toenail fungus, but the locker room is another story. Wet, humid areas are prime for breeding for toenail fungal infections. “Swimmers should always wear foot gear in the locker rooms and showers,” Zinkin says. Also, dry your feet thoroughly after swimming and showering and before slipping back into your regular shoes.
Who Can Develop Fungal Infections
There are many different causes of fungal nail infections each cause has a treatment of its own. Many causes of fungal nail infections are preventable, some risk factors raise the likelihood of developing this condition. Nail infections occur more than men than women, and infections in adults are more often than children. If one has family members who get different types of fungal infections, youre more likely to get this fingernail fungus. They have poorer circulation, and nails grow slowly and thicken as they age.
Fungal infections of the nail may impact part of the nail, the entire nail or several nails. Common signs of a nail fungal infection include distortions in the nail that lift off the nail bed, a smell emanating from the infected nail, a thickened or even a brittle nail.
Other infections mimic symptoms of fungal nail infection, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to see the doctor. They will take the scraping of the nail and look under the microscope for indications of fungus. Doctors may have to send a sample to the lab for analysis and identification. These habits can prevent nail fungus.
Wash the hands and feet frequently and wash your hands after exposure to an infected nail. Moisturize fingernails post a wash. Trim fingernails right across, smoothen the rims with the file and work on thickened regions. Disinfecting nail clippers even after a single usage is also advisable.