All About Nail Fungus
This site is dedicated to providing you with the best information regarding nail fungus its symptoms, causal factors, characteristics, available treatments and preventative measures you can take. Medically, it is known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium, and is a very common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot underneath your fingernail or toenail. Nail fungus can also cause your nail to discolor, split, crack, thicken and crumble at the edge. It can cause a lot of discomfort as well as causing embarrassment due to its unsightly appearance. We aim to provide the most comprehensive resource available about nail fungus and how to effectively treat it quickly and effectively, even ways to prevent future outbreaks.
We provide you with impartial, up-to-the-minute information regarding this very common infection, which affects many individuals. Symptoms vary between individuals, as does the length, frequency and duration of the infection. Nail Fungus spreads quickly, so understanding its causes and what preventative measures you can take will help eradicate this uncomfortable condition, once and for all.
How To Treat Toenail Fungus
Despite what you may hear, covering your infection with nail polish or artificial nails will not get rid of toenail fungus, says the AAD.
There are a few different ways to get rid of toenail fungus, whether youre looking for home remedies or stronger prescribed treatments. Just know this, per Dr. Goldenberg: Treating toenail fungus is extremely difficult.
But the earlier you treat the nail infection, the more likely you are to cure it, explains, Joshua Zeichner, MD, a New York Citybased board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Treatment can take several months, even up to a year, as you need to wait for healthy nail to grow out, which is a slow process, he says.
If you prefer to go the natural route first, these are the home remedies worth tryingplus, stronger prescription options to ask about if the infection persists. It usually takes three months of treatment to cure a toenail fungal infection.
Top Home Remedies To Treat Toenail Fungus
While fungal toenail infections tend to be fairly common in all ages, older adults are more frequently diagnosed. Toenail fungus occurs when fungi are allowed to enter small cracks in the toenails or the surrounding skin. Walking barefoot in high-risk environments, like gyms, pools, and salons is the most common reason for being diagnosed with a toenail fungus infection.
There are certain situations in which youre more likely to get toenail fungus, such as when you have a toenail injury, athlete’s foot, diabetes, a weak immune system, and/or blood circulation problems.
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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.
Natural Ways To Deal With Nail Fungus
Fight the funk.
This article was written by Hallie Levine and provided by our partners at Prevention.
That pedicure you shelled out big bucks for may have left you with an unwelcome gift: onychomycosis, otherwise known as nail fungus. Or maybe it’s a souvenir from the shared showers at your gym or your barefoot walks around the public pool. Although it starts innocuously enough, as a white or yellow spot underneath your finger or toenail, your nail can start to thicken and even crumble as the fungus penetrates deeper and deeper. Ick. And fungus is more likely to appear and persist in your toenails because your tootsies are often confined in the warm, moist environment of your shoes, where these little buggers can thrive.
If you see a dermatologist, you’ll most likely get a prescription for an antifungal oral medication such as Lamisil or Sporanox, which tend to be expensive, don’t always work, and carry side effects ranging from skin rashes to potentially toxic liver damage. “That’s not pleasant, which is why so many people look for a drug-free alternative,” says Joe Graedon, a pharmacologist at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at Chapel Hill and author of The People’s Pharmacy. There are newer topical treatments, such as Kerydin, but they also require a prescription and can take up to a year to work. Here are some of Graedon’s top drug-free remedies for toenail fungus.
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Home Treatments For Toenail Fungus Don’t Always Work
How long does it take to know if your home treatment remedy option has worked? It depends on the remedy and the severity of the fungal problem. While it usually takes 2 to 3 months for a toenail fungus infection to go away, it can take up to a year to completely heal. Most people will try at least 1 of the above home antifungal treatments before choosing to seek foot care from a professional.
Some Other Effective Treatments For Nail Fungus Include
- Soak the nail in a solution of 1-part vinegar to 1-part warm water for 5 10 minutes a day.
- Apply 1- 2 drops of one of the essential oils listed above directly to the affected nail at least twice a day.
- Garlic contains ajoene which has been found to be as effective at treating athletes foot as medicated products such as terbinafine. However, the sulfides in garlic can irritate the skin and its especially irritating to skin that is already battling an infection, but garlic is a great option for treating nail infections orally.
- Help to keep your feet and nails dry by applying arrowroot powder directly to the skin.
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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.
What Is The Treatment For Fungal Nails
Oral antifungal therapy has a high cure rate, depending on the medication. It can take nine to 12 months to see if it has worked or not, because that is how long it takes for the nail to grow out. Even when therapy works, the fungus may come back. Currently, an oral antifungal therapy is considered the best treatment for toenail fungus because of higher cure rates and shorter treatment duration compared to topical therapy.
Prescription oral medications that are effective against nail fungus include the following:
There are several innovative treatments that are still being tested:
- Laser therapy or uses application of light-activated agents onto the nail followed by shining light of a proper wavelength on the nail.
- Use of electrical current to help absorption of topical antifungal medications into the nail: This is also called iontophoresis.
- Use of a special nail lacquer that changes the micro-climate of the nail to make it inhospitable for the fungus to grow: If this works, it may be an inexpensive way to treat this problem in the future.
One way to definitively get rid of toenail fungus is by surgery. Surgical treatment of onychomycosis involves nail removal. However, this often only provides temporary relief, and recurrence is common unless additional antifungal medication is simultaneously used. However, surgical removal may be warranted when the affected nail is associated with other factors such as trauma and or infection.
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Why Does Vinegar Soak Work
The idea behind vinegar foot soaks is relatively simple: vinegar is acidic, which gives it antifungal and antibacterial properties.
To explain a bit further, vinegar is a diluted form of acetic acid . As a result, it is an antifungal agent meaning it slows down the growth of some types of foot fungus and may kill fungus entirely.
It might also make your body less hospitable to fungus because the acidity affects the pH level of your skin. This makes fungal overgrowth and infection much more unlikely.
Its worth noting though, that there is no scientific evidence that shows vinegar soaks is a reliable method for treating toenail fungus.
Tips For Prevention Of Fungal Nails
Nail fungus causes only 50% of abnormal-appearing nails. It can be hard to tell the difference between the different causes of discolored nails . Onychomycosis is often not treated. Reasons to receive treatment include
No one knows where a specific person catches the fungus, as it is everywhere. However, since the fungus does thrive in warm moist areas , there are certain areas one should avoid or use with caution. Shower floors, locker rooms, and swimming pools are suspected of being sources of the fungus, although there are no studies proving this fact. Nail polish and acrylic nails also make the nail less “breathable” and make the nail more susceptible to fungal infection. Fungi are everywhere — in the air, the dust, and the soil. Hygienic measures such as spraying socks and footgear sound sensible, and perhaps these measures can even help a little bit. However, avoiding tight, nonbreathing shoes or steering clear of athletic facility floors may very well be the best prevention available. Daily washing of the feet and drying between the toes can help to prevent nail fungus. The fungi carried on the coats of pets, like cats and dogs, don’t often cause nail fungus. Wearing white socks does not help.
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Preventative Steps To Take
While you cant always help your risk factors for toenail fungus, there are some preventive steps you can take:
- Bring your own sterilized instruments, such as nail clippers, to a nail salon.
- Keep your toenails short and clean to prevent nail trauma that can lead to cracking. If you have difficulty trimming your own toenails, your doctor may recommend seeing a podiatrist to help.
- Dont share personal care items like fingernail clippers or pumice stones with another person.
- Throw away or treat potentially infected footwear.
- Wear clean socks and wash socks after use.
- Wear sandals when walking in a locker room, public shower, or any other places where fungus is likely to grow.
Toenail fungal infections have a high rate of recurrence, even after youve treated them. Thats why its important to couple treatment measures with preventive ones to give yourself the best chance for keeping your toenails healthy in appearance.
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Remedies To Fight Toenail Fungus At Home
Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is perhaps one of the most common nail disorders. It is a fungal infection that penetrates through chinks in your toenail, cuts in the surrounding skin, or the separation between the nail and the toe, and affects the material below the toenail.
The fungus tends to thrive in certain conditions, such as abnormal body pH, a weakened immune system, continuous exposure to a moist environment including sweaty shoes and socks, poor hygiene, and diabetes.
As embarrassing as this condition may be, simply camouflaging your unsightly toenail, such as painting your nails, without tending to it properly would do you more harm than good. If the infection goes untreated long enough, it could spread to the adjoining skin, to the other toenails, and even perhaps to your fingernails.
How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Nail Fungus
To find out if a patient has nail fungus, a dermatologist examines your nails and nearby skin. Its important to check the skin because the fungus can spread. You may already have a skin infection caused by fungus like athletes foot.
To get rid of the infection, you will need to treat all infected areas.
Before giving you the diagnosis, your dermatologist may also take some samples. Collecting a bit of debris from beneath a nail, trimming off part your nail, or scraping off a bit of skin can be very helpful. In a lab, these samples can be examined under a microscope to find out whats causing the problem.
Are you hiding an infected nail with nail polish?
Be sure to ask your dermatologist if you can wear nail polish while treating nail fungus.
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How Long Does It Take For Tea Tree Oil To Work On Ringworm
It depends on the type of ringworm you have. Tea tree oil effectively kills both dermatophytes and yeast infections when used consistently for several weeks so that it will work on any ringworm you attempt to treat with it.
- If you are using tea tree oil topically, apply it to the affected area for several weeks.
- If you are using it as an oral supplement, then it will take longer than that because your internal organs must absorb it first before getting into your system and circulating the body.
- The length of time will depend on how severe your case of ringworm is. However, if you are using it consistently, then the tea tree oil will affect your ringworm.
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How To Make A Vinegar Foot Soak
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Fortunately, theres a simple solution to your woes, and it can be found in your kitchen.
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Cover The Affected Area In Oregano Oil
Believe it or not, the tasty herb can also work wonders for treating toenail fungus at home. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Skin Appendage Disorders, researchers found that oreganos antibacterial properties are able to inhibit fungal growth in nails.
While the effectiveness of oregano oil has only been known anecdotally, thymola common component of oregano oilhas been reviewed to be an effective antibacterial and antifungal agent, Hayag says. People with toenail fungus can apply the product to affected areas twice daily and can expect no improvement, partial improvement, or complete improvement of their toenail fungus after using oregano oil. That said, she mentioned that oregano oil is quite potent and can cause an adverse reaction if you have particularly sensitive skin. For this reason, she recommends starting with a patch test. Additionally, to prevent an adverse reaction, consider mixing oregano oil with a carrier oil, such as olive or avocado oils, to dilute its potency.
When To See A Bethesda Md Or Springfield Va Podiatrist
If you try several of these remedies and see no results, its time to see a podiatrist. Toenail fungus is notoriously stubborn, so dont be too surprised if home remedies dont quite work. It can also take quite a long time for these home remedies to work because you have to continue doing them consistently until the new nail has fully grown out.
If youve tried the homeopathic route and arent satisfied with the results, you can always come see Bethesda, MD & Springfield, VA Podiatrist, Dr. Paul Ross! If you have moderate to severe foot fungus, it is recommended that you see a doctor anyway because there can be complications if the infection is left untreated. Call us at . We offer same day appointments if you dont want to wait.
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!
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