Mayo Clinic Q And A: Toenail Fungus Often Difficult To Eliminate Completely
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: What causes toenail fungus, and what can be done to treat it? Is it contagious?ANSWER: Toenail fungus is an infection thats usually caused by a microscopic organism called dermatophyte fungus. These infections can be contagious, and they are often difficult to eliminate completely. Fortunately, for most healthy adults toenail fungus doesnt pose any serious health risks.
Toenail fungus is a common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your toenail. As the infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge. Fungal infections are more likely to happen in your toenails than in your fingernails because toenails often are confined in a dark, warm, moist environment inside your shoes where fungi can thrive. Toes also have less blood flow than fingers, making it harder for your bodys immune system to detect and stop the infection.
The older you are, the more likely you are to get toenail fungus. Thats because as you age, your immune system changes. In addition, your nails become more brittle and drier over time, creating more cracks where fungus can live.
You may see ads publicizing laser treatments for toenail fungus. I usually dont recommend them. They tend to be quite expensive, and at this time most medical insurance does not cover that type of treatment.
How Do You Confirm Onychomycosis
Traditionally, in dermatologic practice, the diagnosis of onychomycosis is confirmed by direct microscopic examination of a specimen prepared with potassium hydroxide to detect fungal elements and mycologic culture in a central laboratory, and to identify the specific pathogen and confirm that it is viable.
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Creams & Topical Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Over-the-counter fungal creams like clotrimazole dont work well for treating toenail fungus. Prescription nail polishes are available, but they take longer to work and arent effective for severe cases. Thats because they dont penetrate the nail very well. That said, they are still a good option for people with mild cases of toenail fungus, or for those who cant take the oral antifungals. Examples include:
Side effects are usually minor and include redness or burning at the application site.
You might hear or read about medicated chest rub as a treatment for toenail fungus, but its mostly hype. Its a tempting option because its so safe, easy to use, and cheap. But its not likely to help.
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What Causes Nail Fungus
Nail fungus occurs when fungi, yeast, or mold infect the skin. These types of infections are more likely to affect toenails than fingernails, and can be associated with athletes foot. Symptoms typically include white, brown, or yellow discoloration of the nail or thickening, cracking, and/or brittleness of the nail. If left untreated, the area of the infection can become painful.
There are several risk factors for developing nail fungus: tight shoes damaged nails walking barefoot in moist areas like swimming pools, saunas, and public showers poor blood circulation in your legs a weakened immune system and other skin conditions, such as psoriasis. You may even have a genetic predisposition to developing nail fungus.
Here at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle, well assess your specific case, perform tests to get to the bottom of the issue, and determine which treatment to provide you based on the test results.
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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.
Cured My Ugly Nail Finally
I had yellow thick nails from the time I turned 40 until this last year . I tried just about everything out there when I first started seeing my nails get weird. Nothing worked. I gave up.Then about 6 months ago I saw a TV ad for Emoninail and decided to give it a shot. Guess what? It worked. I guess the technology has advanced enough. Next thing I know they will have an app to cure nail fungus. Just kidding.
Response: Disclaimer: Individual results may vary.
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Signs You Need To See A Podiatrist
Now that the warmer weather is officially coming to an end, were putting our sandals and flip flops away and putting on thick socks and boots. With that, patients tend to start neglecting certain symptoms or signs that something is wrong with their feet.
The truth is many people do this because they either dont understand what the symptoms mean, or theyre afraid of finding out whats really wrong. But, there is nothing to be afraid of when seeing a Podiatrist. Our job is to help you and your feet.
Here are 10 signs that its time you come in and see a Podiatrist. And keep in mind that each of these signs will range in their severity.
Nail Removal Home Remedies And Laser Treatment
In the most serious instances of toenail fungus infection, the toenail may be removed surgically or dissolved with acid. This can be done to just a portion of the nail in the hope that the remaining nail will grow back healthy. In cases where the entire toenail has to be removed, artificial nails and products using light-cured resins to form a temporary covering can be used to protect the underlying tissue until the nail grows back.
If you prefer to go the home-remedy route, such as applying tea tree oil or Vicks VapoRub to your nails, keep in mind that the effectiveness of these products for treating toenail fungus hasn’t been well studied, and they are not recommended by podiatrists.
Finally, the Food and Drug Administration has approved several laser devices for temporary increase in clear nails in patients with onychomycosis. But while laser treatments are vigorously marketed, clinical trials of lasers have reported mixed results, and the treatments may not be covered by health insurance. If you wish to try laser treatment of toenail fungus, speak to your doctor about what to expect from the treatment, and call your insurance carrier to find out whether the treatment will be covered.
Additional reporting by Susan Jara.
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The Initial Causes Emu Oil For Nail Fungus
If you suspect that your nails are infected with fungus, it is best to consult your doctor and get a diagnosis. Your doctor will ask you about the symptoms and conduct a thorough examination of your nails. A biopsy is required to determine the cause of the infection. Various types of fungus are found in the skin, including the toenails. Among the most common forms of nail fungus are yellow and black, with white patches surrounded by dark brown or white spots.
The infection is caused by fungus. It can spread to the skin and other parts of the body. It is very common to find a nail fungus on the foot in elderly people, and it is often not treated until the condition gets worse. The disease can even be spread to the skin. The afflicted person should see a doctor immediately if they notice any changes in the color of his or her nails.
Nail fungus can occur in the toenails. The infection occurs due to a variety of factors, including excessive moisture, soaking your hands in water, and a lack of hygiene. If the afflicted person is prone to infection, the fungus will grow in the toenails and may spread to other parts of the body. Consequently, it is essential to prevent the nail fungus from spreading to the skin
Can Severe Toenail Fungus Be Cured
Yes but not by just topical medication!
- Many people with toenail fungus are never able to successful treat their toenail fungus.
- It is unfortunate because they desperately try every home remedy and buy expensive topical creams that state they are a miracle cure. But nothing ever works out.
- This is because they are treating the symptoms of the disease and not the cause.
- The toenail must become weak and the nail bed must be damaged before the fungus ever enters into the picture.
- According to current scientific literature, less than 30% of all deformed and thick nails were initially caused by toenail fungus.
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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!
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.
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How To Get Rid Of Nail Fungus
Toenail fungus is notoriously difficult to treat.
In order to be rid of the fungus, youâll need the nail to fully grow out while treating it. And, nails grow slowly, so change can take time.
A fungus is not like a bacteria that can be washed away with some soap and water, or treated with antibiotics. A fungus infection will require an antifungal treatment and the growth of new healthy toenails.
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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Treatment Of Nail Fungal Infection At Different Stages
Treatment of onychomycosis at the first stage is crucial as the infection hasnt exacerbated yet and therefore is easier to heal. Topical treatments, such as anti-fungal creams and gels or medicated nail polish are the most commonly used at this stage. However, it is ideal to use a topically-applied medication that not only can kill the fungus, but can penetrate the nail as well.
Most topical treatments dont work because they cant penetrate the nail to get to the fungi. It is therefore recommended for sufferers to use a topical medication that can penetrate the nail and kill the fungus. A solution with 10% undecylenic acid, which can effectively get rid of the infection, and a penetrating agent , is recommended.
For moderate nail fungus infection, such topical solutions can still work. However, many sufferers use that in conjunction with oral medicines. Many anti-fungal pills in the market can treat fungal nail infection, though it is still suggested to use such medicines along with topical solutions .
Unfortunately, oral medicines are also more likely to cause side effects to patients. They are also not recommended for the elderly, pregnant women, and those who have other medical conditions or ailments.
But again, fungi can come back, even without the nail itself. This is why its recommended for patients to use topical anti-fungal ointment to the nail bed and surrounding skin while waiting for the nail to grow back. Otherwise, the fungi will just return.
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, athletes 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 youve injured your toenail, your odds for getting toenail fungus go up.
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The Best Way To Stop Each Foot And Toenail Fungus
Whereas toenail fungus and foot fungus arent the identical situation, the next ideas may also help you stop each, says Sundling:
- Apply good hygiene, similar to holding your ft clear.
- Alternate your footwear through the week. Your ft sweat all day lengthy. Alternating your footwear permits them to dry out, so the fungus cant survive.
- Put on moisture-wicking socks that assist dry out footwear and kill fungus. Youll find these at operating shops and athletic shops. In case your socks are exceptionally sweaty, altering them greater than as soon as per day may also help.
- Put on footwear in public locations like locker rooms, swimming pools, and gymnasiums to restrict publicity to fungus.
- Keep wholesome to keep up an excellent immune system to battle off fungal an infection.
- Put on footwear that match properly most individuals put on footwear which are too tight and so they dont notice it.
- Use over-the-counter sprays or powders that assist dry out footwear and kill fungus.
- Maintain your pores and skin dry, and dont neglect to dry between the toes after bathing, exercising, or sweating. Lots of people dont dry between the toes, so the pores and skin stays moist, which may result in an infection.
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What You Need To Know About Emuaid Max
Emuaid MAX combines the wonderful powers of emu oil and with therapeutic compounds such as tea tree oil and colloidal silver to create a super-healing cream. This mix of ingredients provides a safe alternative to many over-the-counter creams or prescriptions.
If you have ever gone to the doctor looking for relief and feel like the remedy caused more harm than good then Emuaid is your welcome answer. I wish I had known about this product before because I recently went to the dermatologist with a strange rash on my stomach which began spreading south. Ultimately, I wish I knew of an alternative at the time and you will see why below.
Upon arriving at the dermatologist, I explain the situation going on with this unknown and unattractive rash that has developed around my belly button. She goes, Oh I know what you have! You have molluscum contagiosum. I know what just to use.
She turns around and goes to her table of vials and chooses one. She grabs an eyedropper and carefully extracts some of the acids out of it. It was some sort of acid that is meant to severely irritate the skin to begin attacking my rash and also get my immune system to attack it as well.
She proceeded to drop a few drops of this on my pimple-looking rash. She goes, It will sit for a few minutes and you might feel a little burn. Boy did it!
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