Take Care Of Your Toes
Use soap and water to wash your feet, and dry well, including between toes. Trim your toenails — straight across — to keep them shorter than the end of your toe. Make sure the tools you use are clean, too. Wash clippers and files with soap and water, then wipe with rubbing alcohol. You might be tempted to cover up discolored nails with polish, but don’t. Your nail bed can’t “breathe,” which keeps fungus from going away.
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.
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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How To Get Rid Of Thick Skin Under The Toenails
Thick skin under the toenails, often caused by a fungal condition known as onychomycosis, can make the toenails themselves appear thicker than normal and even take on a yellow or brown discoloration. Onychomycosis can cause the skin to thicken along the outer edge of the nail and directly underneath, according to Columbia University 1. This skin accumulation may produce a foul odor that is most noticeable during filing and nail grooming. If you have thick skin under your toenails, dont despair it. Treatment is available in the form of topical applications.
Wash your feet daily using antibacterial soap and warm water. Pat your feet and toes dry with an absorbent towel after washing. Dry your feet thoroughly, paying close attention to the area in between the toes.
Cut your toenails just above the skin line using a pair of toenail clippers. Cut the toenails straight across and file them smooth with a nail file to remove any sharp edges.
Apply an antifungal nail lacquer to your toenails. One to two coats of antifungal polish applied once a week will help prevent the spread of the fungus deep into your toenails.While most antifungal lacquers require a prescription, there are a few over-the-counter preparations available.
Practice good hygiene when dealing with toenail fungus. Changing your socks daily and rotating your shoes can help. Fungus thrives in moist environments, so changing your sweaty socks and shoes can help keep your feet dry.
What Is The Outlook For Someone With Toenail Fungus
While toenail fungus is common, its usually not harmful. Symptoms mostly affect the look of your toenail.
Toenail fungus may spread to the skin between your toes or other areas of your body. When getting dressed, put your socks on first to reduce the chance of spread.
Treating toenail fungus takes a long time, and it doesnt always work. Even then, toenail fungus often returns. Discuss the pros and cons of treating toenail fungus with your provider to determine whats best for you.
Practicing good hygiene and foot care reduces the chance toenail fungus will come back. If you have diabetes, getting regular foot exams may help you address foot problems before they get serious.
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Causes Of Keratin Build Up Under Toenails
The matrix is a part of nail bed which is not visible as it lies beneath the nail fold.
There are several causes that may lead to excess of keratin under the toe nail. One of the main causes is fungal infection in toe nail. Nail fungus destroys the keratin present in nail. Thus debris of keratin forms under the nail. Since the process is gradual and it does not cause pain, patient may not detect it until the nail becomes discolored or get separated from the nail bed.
Trauma to the toe nail or certain health conditions such as lichen planus, thyroid disease, side effects of medicines and chemical contact all can result in nail damage and subsequently a buildup of keratin beneath the nail. Usually, keratin debris develops only in one toe nail but sometimes more than one toenail is affected.
What Are Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Do you need to treat your nail fungus? Maybe it doesn’t hurt, and the yellow, thick nails don’t bother you.
But nail fungus doesn’t go away by itself. And if you don’t treat it, there’s a chance it could get worse. It could spread to other nails or through your body. It could cause pain when you walk.
There are a number of ways to take care of it, including:
Nonprescription options. You can buy antifungal creams, gels, and nail polish at the store and online without a prescription. You might want to try one of them first if the infection doesn’t look bad. Some people also swear by home remedies like menthol rub, tea tree oil, mouthwash, or snakeroot extract — but studies show mixed results.
Prescription polish and creams. Your foot doctor will likely trim your nail and file away its dead layers. They may also take a piece of your nail and send it to the lab to make sure itâs really a fungus and to find out what type it is.
The doctor might suggest an antifungal drug that you paint on your nails. This may work on its own, or they may suggest you take it with antifungal pills.
Prescription medications. One of several antifungal pills may help. They work, but it may take many months to do the job. They also come with side effects like nausea, vomiting, and headaches. They may cause liver damage too, so your doctor will watch you closely while you take them. Be sure to tell them about any other meds youâre taking — some antifungal pills might not work well with them.
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What Causes Toenail Fungus Under The Nails
Toenail infections, like other infections, are caused by tiny microscopic organisms living where theyre not supposed to be. In the case of toenails, these organisms are often fungi, like yeasts and molds. These invaders can live in the layer of dead skin cells around and underneath your toenails.
Toenail fungus is contagious and you can get it from being exposed to others infections. These yeasts and molds are present everywhere in the environment, but tend to grow and flourish in warm, moist places like community pools, gyms, and change rooms.
Your risk of getting the toenail infection increases if you:
- spend time in a warm, moist climate or wear sweaty shoes,
- wear shoes that are too tight or have metal toe-caps that may cause tiny injuries to the toenails,
- have health issues , or even from
- increasing age.
If you think you have toenail fungus under your nails, reach out to me or your health care provider to get an accurate diagnosis. Before treating it, you want to be sure if the reason for your unsightly toenails is, in fact, fungus under your nails . You dont want to let a fungal infection go too far, as not treating it can lead to further complications.
When To See A Doctor About Toenail Fungus
If you are experiencing persistent toenail fungus or pain is present, you may need to see a specialist. A dermatologist or podiatrist may be able to assess your symptoms and send a small sample of the affected toenail or flesh to a laboratory to be analyzed as there are various types of fungi and yeasts that cause onychomycosis. Knowing the specific cause of your foot fungus can help identify what route to take to treat your condition.
Nail changes can also be caused by underlying conditions, like psoriasis and diabetes, so its important to seek professional medical advice if your condition persists or worsens. Bacterial and fungal infection of skin in diabetes patients often result in hospital admissions, and in severe cases, can result in amputations. If you are at a higher risk for infection, you should skip home remedies and seek professional medical treatment.
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Treating Toenail Fungus Medically
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Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Toenail Fungus
One of the most dreaded and, lets face it, a disgusting ailment is toenail fungus . As most who read my blogs know, I usually write about topics that I have experienced personally and/or observed in patients. Well, for this one, it is both. For years, one of my toes would become afflicted, Id treat it, and then a year or two later, it would return.
The truth is that fungus is among us! You may view yourself as one with good hygiene, but even you are loaded with fungus on your skin. Fungus does not need much to overgrow and is exceedingly difficult to get rid of when it does. The three changes in our local skin environment that cause it to grow are 1. A decrease in good bacteria , since bacteria can suppress its growth 2. Excessive water/moisture 3. Sugar.
But to get fungus on your nail, a few things must happen. Diabetics, because of elevated sugar, are at higher risk. However, many, like myself, who dont have diabetes, are still prime targets. Thats because of what I call the blotter effect. To understand this effect, imagine the following scenario. You are sitting behind a wooden desk with a glass blotter on top to protect the surface. You place a cup of water on the blotter and turn to work on your computer. As you turn, your elbow knocks over youre cup, and the water spills over the edge of the desk. You then see some water track itself under the blotter.
The following natural approaches will work whether you have taken a medication or not .
A Pharmacist Can Help With Fungal Nail Infections
Speak to a pharmacist if the look of your nail bothers you or it’s painful.
They may suggest:
- antifungal nail cream it can take up to 12 months to cure the infection and does not always work
- nail-softening cream it’s used for 2 weeks to soften the nail so the infected part can be scraped off
The infection is cured when you see healthy nail growing back at the base.
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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.
How Do I Know If I Have A Fungal Nail Infection
Because other infections can affect the nail and mimic symptoms of a fungal nail infection, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to see a doctor. Theyll take a scraping of the nail and look under a microscope for signs of fungus.
In some cases, your doctor may send the sample to a lab for analysis and identification.
Over-the-counter products arent usually recommended to treat nail infections since they dont provide reliable results. Instead, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication, such as:
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How Fungal Nail Infections Start
So why did you get the fungal nail infection but your gym buddy didnt or why is only one nail currently infected but not the rest? A fungal nail infection starts when a spore comes in contact with your toenail and is able to invade the nail through an opening like if your nail is injured or damaged. After the fungus takes hold, it feeds on the keratin that your nails are composed of, causing changes to the appearance and colour of the nail. The infection can also cause a mild inflammatory response which can lift the nail and trap more fungus, spores and bacteria beneath, making effective treatment even more difficult especially if youre only using a surface-level cream or ointment.
You are more vulnerable to an infection taking hold if you have a compromised immune system, are pregnant, are older, have medical conditions like diabetes or circulatory problems or have Athletes foot. While this may explain why some people may start growing the infection faster than others, it can only take a stubbed toe or some slight damage to the nail from not being careful when trimming the nail or getting a pedicure to skyrocket your risk.
Dwelling Therapies For Toenail Fungus Do Not At All Times Work
How lengthy does it take to know if your private home therapy treatment choice has labored? It is determined by the treatment and the severity of the fungal downside. Whereas it often takes 2 to three months for a toenail fungus an infection to go away, it will possibly take as much as a 12 months to utterly heal. Most individuals will attempt not less than 1 of the above house antifungal therapies earlier than selecting to hunt foot care from knowledgeable.
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Signs Of A Toenail Fungal Infection
- Discolored toenails. Nails can be brown, black, white, or yellow. Usually a small area changes color at first and it slowly spreads.
- Thickened toenails. Over time, the nail becomes thick, material builds up under the nail, and the nail can develop an irregular shape, grooves, or a crumbling appearance.
- Affects one or more toenails. The fungus may spread to other toenails. The big toe is most commonly affected. The fungus can also occur in fingernails.
- Starts at the end or side of the toenail. The infection gradually spreads toward the cuticle.
- Usually painless unless there are skin changes or injury to the nail bed or if shoes press on the thick nail.
- Athletes foot. Some people will also have skin fungus on their feet, which looks like red, peeling skin between the toes.
Patients may say that they are embarrassed to go to the pool or the beach, or they avoid wearing sandals. They describe their nails as thick, crumbling, and abnormally colored. One patient described their nails as looking like an animals horn, which is pretty accurate. But they are so thrilled when they see results from treatment! Dr. Anne Jacobsen