Other Options For Toenail Fungus Infections
Removal of the toenail is only used when just one nail is infected, but it does work. Light therapy and lasers are also being studied as possible toenail fungus treatments. Laser therapy has shown promise when combined with oral or topical antifungals. A multicenter trial investigating the efficacy of a device, the Pinpointe FootLaser, is currently underway, so stay tuned to that.
Know It May Have To Be Permanent
At this point, if he or she has not discussed this with you earlier, the doctor may recommend that you have the nail permanently prevented from growing back. This is only done in severe cases of fungus or other disorders where the problem would simply keep occurring if the nail grew back.
To do this, the doctor must destroy the nail matrix, which is the part of the toe that produces keratin, the element that toenails are made of.
The matrix can be dissolved chemically, which is the most common. This is called chemical cauterization, and involves the application of a chemical called phenol. Occasionally, some patients report their nails growing back, but generally this method is effective.
If this does not work, your doctor will perform a surgical matrixectomy. A flap of skin is surgically created at the base of the nail, where the matrix is located. After retracting the flap, the matrix is surgically removed.
Risk Factors Associated With Toenail Fungus
Certain health conditions and lifestyle factors can make you increasingly vulnerable to developing nail fungus:
Health: You have a greater chance of contracting a fungal nail infection if you suffer from one or more of the following issues:
- Other fungal skin infections, such as athletes foot or ringworm
- Increasingly brittle, crumbly, or ragged nail
- Nail that appears warped or distorted in shape
- Nail that appears dull without any luster
- Dark color, caused by the accumulation of debris under your nail
- Slightly foul odor in the affected area
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Terbinafine For Toenail Fungus Treatment
The best pill for toenail fungus is terbinafine. Evidence suggests it works better than the alternatives with the fewest side effects. Terbinafine results in resolution of toenail fungus 76% of the time. Common side effects may include headaches, skin rash, and vomiting. It is taken once a day for 6 to 12 weeks.
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.
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How Do I Treat Toenail Fungus Are There Natural Treatments
Prevention is the best cure. Be aware!
For some people it can be difficult finding natural treatments to fight the embarrassment, disfigurement and the physical pain of toenail fungus, There are some internal medications available as prescriptions such as itraconazole , fluconazole , griseofulvin , and terfinabine , but they have been shown to sometimes have side effects such as upset stomach, headaches, and liver damage. Read more at “In the News”. Mixing these oral medications with some other drugs can be extremely dangerous. Really! They are very expensive as well, some of them can cost over $900 for just the treatment medications. There is a powerful reason why they are available by prescription only.
There have been recent studies that shows there is only about a 35% – 50% complete treatment rate after 72 steady weeks of using Lamisil or Sporanox!
Try an alternative natural product. futspa Nail Drops are natural, inexpensive, safe and easy to use, and effective.
This special futspa toenail fungus solution contains a natural essential oil synergy of tea tree, lavender, and thyme. Tea tree oil is a potent natural antiseptic and fungicide that will help fight your fungus. We are one of the very few companies who tell you the full ingredients.
What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Toenail Fungus
If you have toenail fungus, you may find it helpful to ask your provider:
- What type of infection do I have?
- Do you recommend I treat it? Why or why not?
- How long will I need treatment?
- What steps can I take to stop it from coming back?
- Should I be aware of any potentially serious complications or treatment side effects?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Toenail fungus is an incredibly common infection that can be difficult to treat. The condition usually isnt painful, but it may make you feel self-conscious about how your foot looks. If it bothers you, talk to your provider about your treatment options. A trained specialist can provide guidance on whats most likely to address your concerns while protecting your overall health.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.
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Know Not To Be Afraid
Surgery can be nerve-wracking and scary. Nobody likes pain, hospitals, scalpels, cuts, and anesthesia. The whole idea can be very unpleasanteven reading about it can turn the stomach!
But, it is very important to remember that thousands of people have experienced nail removal and have lived to tell about it! While there may be some discomfort and pain following the procedure, if a qualified doctor or other medical professional has concluded this is the best treatment for your specific problem, let that give all the comfort it should. We are very blessed to live in a world where so many health problems can be easily corrected!
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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Toenail Fungus Home Care
Sometimes itâs possible to treat your toenail fungus at home. You can try:
- Over the counter antifungal creams or ointments. File or cut off any white markings on your nails. Soak your nails in water and dry off before you put on the medicated cream.
- Special nail care. If you keep your nails trimmed, it can reduce the pressure and pain you feel. You can also thin your nail bed by filing it down. This can help antifungal creams get to the problem easier.
Hydrogen Peroxide Foot Soaks
The acidity of hydrogen peroxide fights toenail fungus. Fill a small bowl or bucket with one cup of peroxide against six to eight cups of filtered warm water. Throw in dried herbs like chamomile and lavender to soothe irritation, and add a few tablespoons of sea salt as a natural antiseptic.
Soak your feet in the water-peroxide mixture for up to 45 minutes. Finish the treatment by rinsing your feet in filtered water, and then thoroughly dry your feet with a clean towel. Repeat the water-peroxide soak twice daily until the infection improves.
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How Do I Avoid Toenail Fungus
Prevention is the best cure!
Toenail and athlete’s foot fungi like to grow in warm, moist areas, which include public areas such as spas, swimming pools, locker rooms, or showers. For short periods of time the it can live in warm puddles on tile floors, awaiting someone to step in and pick up the spores. If you can wear sandals, water shoes, or swimming booties they would help in keeping your feet from touching the floor directly. Some public swimming pool areas have small wade-through pools which help to keep the toenail and athlete’s foot fungi in check. After your session at the pool or other public area, wash your feet thoroughly and dry them well.
Pure 100% cotton, wool, or silk socks are the best to wear because they absorb moisture from your feet and provide good ventilation. When you do get your socks damp, it is a good idea to take them off and dry your feet before putting on a fresh pair of clean, dry, cotton socks.
Synthetic socks such as nylon are not advised because they don’t allow the moisture to pass through away from your skin.
The best shoes to wear are those that allow plenty of air and moisture exchange. Look for air-breather holes on the sides, natural materials , and a comfortable fit. If you have a fungal condition already, sprinkle into your shoes a good anti-bacterial product such as Foot Powder.
How To Prevent Toenail Fungus
Because fungi are everywhere , they can be present months before they find opportunities to strike and before signs of infection appear. By following certain precautions, including proper hygiene and regular inspection of the feet and toes, chances of the problem occurring can be significantly reduced.
- Regularly clean and dry feet to resist disease. Follow a strict regimen of washing the feet with soap and water.
- Change socks and hosiery daily and change out shoes on a regular basis.
- Clip toenails straight across so the nail doesnt extend beyond the tip of your finger or toenails.
- Wear socks that are made of synthetic fiber to wick away moisture. Cotton and wool socks dont wick away moisture as fast as synthetic fiber does. This can be helpful in denying a hospitable environment for the fungi to grow in.
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Distal And Lateral Subungual Onychomycosis:
Distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis are seen in majority of cases and is almost always due to dermatophyte infection. It affects the hyponychium, often at the lateral edges initially, and spreads proximally along the nail bed resulting in subungual hyperkeratosis and onycholysis although the nail plate is not initially affected. Distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis may be confined to one side of the nail or spread sideways to involve the whole of the nail bed, and progresses relentlessly until it reaches the posterior nail fold. Eventually the nail plate becomes friable and may break up, often due to trauma, although nail destruction may be related to invasion of the plate by dermatophytes that have keratolytic properties. Examination of the surrounding skin will nearly always reveal evidence of tinea pedis. Toenail infection is an almost inevitable precursor of fingernail dermatophytosis, which has a similar clinical appearance although nail thickening is not as common.
How Effective Are Tablets In Treating Nail Fungus
Tablets for the treatment of nail fungus have been tested in several studies. All participants had an infection on their toenails caused by a skin fungus. Overall, the study results showed that tablets are considerably more effective than nail polishes or creams.
One year after a three-month treatment with terbinafine:
- About 17 out of 100 people who didnt have this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
- About 76 out of 100 people who had this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
In other words, the treatment with terbinafine got rid of the fungal infection in about 59 out of 100 people.
Itraconazole also proved to be effective. After one year,
- 7 out of 100 people who didnt have this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
- About 43 out of 100 people who had this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
In other words, the treatment with itraconazole got rid of the fungal infection in about 36 out of 100 people.
Some studies directly compared itraconazole and terbinafine with each other. They confirm that terbinafine is somewhat more effective than itraconazole.
Treatment with breaks is thought to be about as effective as continuous treatment. But that has only been looked into in a few studies.
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Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Nail Fungus
Although some people may refer to these alternative treatments as quack science, there appears to be a little more to these homemade remedies since many individuals have used them to cure their conditions. However, more research still needs to be conducted on the success rate of home remedies for nail fungus.
Some common and supposedly effective alternative treatments include:
According to Dr. Josh Axe of the Exodus Health Center, apple cidar vinegar not only helps to soothe sunburns, balance pH in the body, manage blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss, its also an ingredient that contains anti-fungal properties. As such, many sufferers of fungal nail infection have now turned to this healthy food to cure their conditions.
The acidic properties of apple cidar vinegar prevent nail fungus from spreading. At the same time, apple cidar vinegar helps to get rid of dead skin cells while killing bacteria and fungi.
Simply mix it with water in equal parts then soak the infected nails for up to 30 minutes in the solution. Repeat this process daily and pat dry the infected nails after soaking.
Another study conducted by Russian researchers showed that a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide had been instrumental in killing off fungus at the radioactive Chernobyl site.
For this remedy, one should simply apply lemon juice on the infected nail for about 30 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
What To Watch For When Taking Oral Medication For Toenail Fungus Treatment
All of the pills for toenail fungus can cause liver toxicity. This is rare and is reversible after the medication is stopped. Still, liver function blood testing will be done before you start your treatment and again midway through your treatment.
Medications like Terbinafine and Itraconazole can also interact with certain drugs. Your healthcare provider will look at your medication list to make sure there arent any drug interactions.
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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.
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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Is Cellulitis Contagious
Cellulitis usually doesnt spread from person to person. Yet its possible to catch cellulitis if you have an open cut on your skin that touches an infected persons skin.
Youre more likely to catch cellulitis if you have a skin condition like eczema or athletes foot. Bacteria can enter your skin through cracks that these conditions cause.
A weakened immune system also increases your risk of catching cellulitis because it cant protect you as well against the infection.
If you do catch cellulitis, it could be dangerous if you dont get treated. Thats why its important to tell your doctor.
Cellulitis is treated with antibiotics you get from your doctor. Without treatment, it can spread and cause a life threatening infection.
But there are things you can do at home to relieve pain and other symptoms.
Clean your skin in the area where you have cellulitis. Ask your doctor how to properly clean and cover your wound.
If your leg is affected, raise it above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling and relieve pain.
Does Tea Tree Oil Work
Results from scientific studies supporting the use of tea tree oil to treat nail fungus are mixed. Some of the research points to tea tree oils potential as an antifungal, but more studies are needed.
According to a 2013 study, tea tree oil was effective in reducing growth of the fungus Trichophyton rubrum in nail infections. T. rubrum is a fungus that can cause infections such as athletes foot and nail fungus. Improvements were seen after 14 days.
This study used an in vitro model, which is sometimes called a test-tube experiment. In in vitro studies, the experiment is done in a test tube instead of on an animal or human. Larger human studies are needed to expand on these findings.
Combining tea tree oil with standard medicated creams is also an option. A small 1999 study found that participants were able to successfully manage toenail fungus by using a cream that contained butenafine hydrochloride and tea tree oil.
After 16 weeks of treatment, 80 percent of participants who used this cream cured their toenail fungus with no relapses. No one in the placebo group cured their nail fungus. Further studies are needed to determine which of these ingredients is most useful in treating nail fungus.
Results of a 1994 study found pure tea tree oil was equally as effective as the antifungal clotrimazole in treating fungal toenail infections. Clotrimazole is available both over the counter and by prescription.
Even with diluted tea tree oil, always do a skin patch test before use:
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