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How Do I Know If I Have Toe Fungus

What Other Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Fungal Nails

How do you know if you have a fungal nail infection?

Here are some other conditions you may have instead of fungal nails:

  • Lines and ridges: These are common and may be considered normal. They may worsen during pregnancy. A large groove down the center of the nail can be caused by nail biting. Some people may develop these changes following chemotherapy.
  • Senile nails: As you age, the nails become brittle and develop ridges and separation of the nail layers at the end of the nail. To avoid this, try to clean solutions and donât soak the nails in water.
  • Whitish or yellowish nails can occur due to onycholysis. This means separation of the nail from the nail bed. The color you see is air beneath the nail. The treatment is to trim the nail short, donât clean under it, polish if you want to hide the color, and wait two to three months. Persistent onycholysis can make the nails susceptible to fungal infection.
  • Red or black nails due to a hematoma, or blood under the nail, usually occur from trauma . The discolored area will grow out with the nail and be trimmed off as you trim your nails. If you have a black spot under your nail that was not caused by trauma, you may want to see a dermatologist or a podiatrist if it involves a toenail to make sure it is not melanoma . A simple biopsy can rule out malignancy .
  • Trichophyton

    Donât Miss: Can Toenail Fungus Go Away On Its Own

    How Long Does Toenail Fungus Treatment Take

    This process may take up to a year for your nail to fully grow out the infected nail.

    The American Academy of Dermatology Association says fingernails typically grow out in 4 – 6 months while toenails take can take 12 to 18 months.

    However, the physical appearance might noticeably improve within a few months. Even if the physical appearance is better, donât stop treating the nail as reinfection is very possible.

    Signs Of Toenail Fungus

    A change in the toenails could indicate a fungus. Symptoms can include:

    • Thickening of the nails
    • Nails emanating a foul odor
    • Change in coloration or texture
    • Nail begins to crumble or feels brittle
    • Feels painful
    • Nail starts to separate from its bed

    A first sign is usually a yellow or white spot underneath the tip of the nail. This spreads from there, going deeper and spreading to other toes.

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    There Is A Wide Range Of Options With Varying Success Rates

    Other than keeping your toenails trimmed and perhaps painted, you may not pay much attention to them unless a problem develops. Healthy toenails are pink, shiny and smooth, but a fungal infection can cause them to become discolored, thick, brittle and even painful.

    Toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is a common but challenging condition toenail fungus treatments include a wide range of options with varying success rates.

    Causes of toenail fungus

    Fungal nail infections are usually caused by fungi called dermatophytes that infect the skin beneath the nail yeast is another common culprit. Toenails are especially vulnerable to infection when your bare feet contact damp surfaces such as showers, swimming pools and locker rooms. If you have athletes foot, the infection can spread to the nails.

    Wearing closed shoes such as athletic shoes for extended periods also can contribute to infection if your shoes and/or socks are damp from perspiration or heat. Moreover, if your shoes fit snugly enough to put pressure on your toes, they can damage the nail bed, making it more susceptible to infection.

    People with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or circulatory problems, also may be more prone to toenail infections.

    Symptoms of toenail fungus

    Toenail fungus symptoms can develop slowly over time and may go unnoticed at first. Symptoms can include:

    Toenail fungus treatments

    • Tolnaftate
    • Terbinafine

    When to see a doctor for toenail fungus

    Preventing toenail fungus

    When To See Your Doctor

    Understanding the Symptoms: How do I know I have Toenail ...

    Anytime you think you have a fungal nail infection, or any nail problem, and treating it at home doesnât help, see your doctor or podiatrist . The sooner you go, the sooner your doctor can help.

    Fungal nail infections can get worse over time. See your doctor if you notice your nail has turned brown or black, if it suddenly hurts, or if it pulls away from the nail bed.

    If you have diabetes and you notice that the look of your toenails has changed even a little, see your doctor right away to prevent the problem from getting worse.

    Also Check: What Do You Put On Toenail Fungus

    Top 5 Signs Your Toenail Fungus May Have Escalated To An Infection

    A little case of toenail fungus is practically a rite of passage you quickly learn not to go barefoot in a locker room or shared shower area again and to always pack clean socks. But what happens when your toenail problem goes beyond a suspect smell and yellowed appearance?

    At Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle Center, with locations in Wheat Ridge, Granby, Evergreen, and Arvada, Colorado, our team of podiatrists and foot and ankle surgeons provide care for fungal toenail infections and much more. They believe in educating patients about skin and nail care so you can help avoid common problems and keep your feet healthy and strong.

    What About Prescription Topical Solutions

    Compared with over the counter topical creams, Dr. Wagenseller said, Prescription topical solutions have shown some benefit, but they may require up to a year of daily treatment to be effective. Unlike over the counter topical creams, prescription strength solutions may show long-term improvement even after patients have completed their course of treatment and ceased daily applications.

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    Seek Clues Of Infection In Your Nails

    Observe each toe individually. Your toe beds ought to not be red around the sides.

    You need to likewise analyze the white areas near the nail base carefully. Athletes foot ought to be treated asap. In the lack of treatment options, it will certainly spread rapidly.

    Medication may be ordered by your doctor to treat the fungus. Commonly, both feet will certainly be treated at once by your doctor. How Do I Know If I Have Fungus On My Toe Nail

    If you are taking a shower, put to use antibacterial soap. Routine soap doesnt have the exact same efficacy against bacteria as antibacterial soaps.

    You need to take actions to prevent getting it once again. Toenail fungus isnt very tough to stop.

    Make sure your feet are dry and also clean

    Make certain to clean them everyday with soap and water. Make sure that they are extremely well dried afterward.

    Do the same between your toes. A fungus is much less likely to grow on tidy and also dry feet or nails.

    Is Toenail Fungus Really Such A Problem

    How do I know if I have toenail fungus and what to do

    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.

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    How Do You Know When Nail Fungus Is Gone

    fungal nail infectionnailnailinfected nailnail

    In this way, how do you know if your nail fungus is getting better?

    You may have nail fungus if one or more of your nails are:

  • Thickened.
  • A dark color, caused by debris building up under your nail.
  • Smelling slightly foul.
  • Similarly, how do you know if toenail fungus is working? Nail fungus can be resistant to treatment and nails take a long time to grow out, so it can take several weeks or months for an infection to be fully resolved. You will know that the treatment is working and the infection is clearing up when you see growth of a new, healthy nail from the base of the nail bed.

    One may also ask, how long does it take for nail fungus to go away?

    Oral antifungal drugs.These drugs help a new nail grow free of infection, slowly replacing the infected part. You typically take this type of drug for six to 12 weeks. But you won’t see the end result of treatment until the nail grows back completely. It may take four months or longer to eliminate an infection.

    Can you scrape out toenail fungus?

    Treatment usually begins with your dermatologist trimming your infected nail, cutting back each infected nail to the place where it attaches to your finger or toe. Your dermatologist may also scrape away debris under the nail. This helps get rid of some fungus.

    Types Of Toenail Fungal Infections

    Toenail infections affect about 14 percent of the population at any given time, according to a study published in June 2014 in PloS Pathogens. The most common symptoms of a toenail fungal infection include discoloration of the nail, debris under the nail, irregularity of the white part of the nail, nail thickening, and pain, says Sheth.

    Toenail fungal infections can usually be categorized into one of the following five subtypes:

    Distal Subungual Onychomycosis This is the most common form of toenail fungal infection, usually occurring in the portion of the nail closer to the tip and on the underside of the nail. The nail may become thick, yellow, or brittle.

    Endonyx Onychomycosis People who have endonyx onychomycosis have fungus growing between the layers of the toenails. With this type of fungus, toenails usually have a milky white color and may be pitted or split. They usually dont thicken or separate from the nail bed.

    Proximal White Subungual Onychomycosis This is a relatively uncommon form of toenail fungus, seen most often in people with weakened immune systems due to conditions such as HIV. The fungus enters the toenail through the cuticle and affects the part of the nail closer to the base, turning it a whitish color.

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    Warning Signs Of Toenail Fungus

    Toenail fungus is an unsightly and embarrassing infection that is contagious and often difficult to get rid of. And while some of you may have a mild case and barely even notice the fungal growth at all, others actually suffer from intense pain as their infection grows and spreads.

    When patients visit our office looking to relieve pain caused by toenail fungus, they are usually finally doing something about the infection after months or even years! of ignoring the condition and allowing it to thrive.

    Waiting to seek treatment they soon find is a huge mistake!

    Request an Appointment

    Whenever you have an infection, you shouldnt wait to seek medical care the sooner you get the care you need, the quicker and more effective treatments will be.

    Its like the old saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. And this is true when it comes to toenail fungus looking for symptoms of this pesky condition before they become a problem will help you make the most of treatment opportunities and minimize complications.

    The bottom line is that the more you allow fungus to grow and spread under your nail, the more difficult it will be to actually get rid of it. So staying aware of symptoms and catching them early can really make a huge difference for your recovery.

    And of course, if you want to catch it early, you need to know what to exactly look for thats why we are here!

    Does Hydrogen Peroxide Kill Fungus

    How do I know if I have a fungal infection in my toenails ...

    Hydrogen peroxide has long been applied to a wide variety of uses. From disinfecting minor cuts and scrapes and household cleaning to hair bleach and tooth whitening. Now it has become a popular nail fungus treatment alternative to prescription medication.

    But does it work?

    According to The CDC, hydrogen peroxide kills yeasts, fungi, bacteria, viruses, and mold spores.

    Just remember: just because something has been proven to have antifungal properties, does not mean that it will automatically get rid of a toenail fungal infection.

    The concentration and exposure level are also important.

    This is where the data is lacking.

    There is no clinical data to support the idea that hydrogen peroxide, or any other home remedy , has been proven to be an effective treatment against toenail fungus.

    Although there is no clinical proof of its efficacy, there is lots of anecdotal evidence from people who have used hydrogen peroxide for toenail fungus and it worked for them.

    Bear in mind that hydrogen peroxide may not work for everyone. But there really is no harm in trying to see if it works for you. Its inexpensive and there are no harmful side effects if used properly.

    So why not give it a go?

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    What Are The Signs Of Nail Fungus

    If you get nail fungus, youre likely to see one or more of the following changes to your nails:

    • Part of a nail turns white, yellow, brown, or another color. At first, you may just see a spot of discoloration at the tip of your nail. Without treatment, this discoloration may spread, covering more of the nail.

    • Debris builds up under the nail.

    • A nail begins to lift up, so its no longer firmly attached to the finger or toe.

    • A nail turns white, and the surface of the nail may feel soft, dry, and powdery. The nail also thins, so you may be able to scrape off the nail.

    • Nails thicken and turn yellow or brown, often this affects all of the fingernails.

    • A nail splits or crumbles.

    Treatment is important

    Without treatment, the fungus can spread and damage more nails.

    Having nail fungus is usually painless. At least, its painless in the beginning. However, if you put off getting treatment, the fungus can grow. When the fungus worsens on toenails, wearing shoes can become painful.

    If you see any changes to a nail, you should see a board-certified dermatologist. When caught early, nail fungus may clear with treatment applied to the nail. As the fungus grows, it becomes more difficult to clear the infection.

    ImagesImages 1,2, and 3 used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 70:918-23.

    Image 4 used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

    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, athlete’s 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 you’ve injured your toenail, your odds for getting toenail fungus go up.

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    What Does Fungus Look Like

    Toenail fungus usually starts off as a small white or yellowish spot near the tip of the nail.

    As the fungal infection spreads and goes deeper into the nail, it causes the nail to discolor and become opaque. The nail thickens and eventually crumbles at the edges.

    Nail fungus varies from white to yellow and can sometimes appear brown.

    Regardless of the color of your fungi, it will be sort of splotchy looking rather than one uniform color.

    The progression of the color of bruising will happen in a matter of days from dark red to black, as opposed to nail fungus which starts off white or yellowish and may eventually turn brown after weeks or months.

    Nail fungus will make the nail look dull as the fungus starts to separate the keratin in the nail plate and it becomes opaque.

    The Earliest Signs Of A Fungal Toenail Infection

    How to Know If it is Nail Fungus Or Something Else

    The initial signs of toenail fungus are very subtle. They might not even register as a potential infection at all unless you know what youre looking for.

    The earliest signs include:

    • Unusual white or yellow streaks or spots in the nail
    • Crumbling along the edges or tips of the nail, particularly where its discolored
    • Flaking of the nail in certain areas
    • Increasing distortion of nail shape
    • Potentially more noticeable foot odor

    The spots and streaks can be a particularly tricky symptom, as such marks can appear when you have bumped your toe against something as well.

    The best way to tell the difference between nail trauma and a fungal infection is to keep an eye on the marks for a while. Marks from a nail injury will eventually fade or grow out as the nail does. Spots and streaks from a fungal infection, however, will gradually change shape and grow.

    If you are uncertain of your symptoms, it is never a bad idea to err on the side of caution and have them checked out anyway. Even if it doesnt turn out to be a fungal infection, youll at least have the peace of mind of knowing.

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    Causes Of Toenail Fungus

    Your toenails are frequently being exposed to the pathogen that causes fungal infections.

    In fact, fungus and bacteria can be found almost anywhere, from public pools and locker rooms to the inside of your own shoes warm, damp, and dark places are the perfect environment for fungus to thrive. And when it finds a home in which to fester, the fungus begins to damage the keratin in the nail and, in severe cases, even cause debilitating pain.

    However, fungal toenails can also develop in other ways in some cases, the fungus is contracted after an initial injury to the nail bed. Something as simple as a stubbed toe or an ingrown toenail can make the area more susceptible to the development of this condition.

    In other cases, toenail fungus is the result of other underlying conditions that may contribute to a person developing infections in general. A good example of this is diabetes if you are living with diabetes, then you are already at a higher risk of infection, so when fungi comes into the picture, it is likely to take hold of the nail quite quickly.


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