Prevention And Treatment Of Toenail Fungus
Once its taken hold, toenail fungus can be hard to kick. Here are some techniques for the prevention and treatment of toenail fungus.
Anyone who enjoys wearing open-toed sandals in the summer knows how good it feels to have healthy-looking toenails. But good looks arent the only reason to keep your toenails in top shape. Fungal infections of the toenails also known as onychomycosis dont go away on their own, and if left untreated, the fungus will spread and can eventually destroy the nail.
If you have comprised blood flow, theres even more reason to safeguard your toenails, since youll have trouble healing, says Ami Sheth, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Los Gatos, California, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. And once you have a wound, you can get fungal skin infections, which can lead to a subsequent bacterial infection if the skin breaks down, notes Dr. Sheth.
However, because toenail fungal infections are typically painless, people are often unaware that they have a problem unless they are inspecting their feet regularly.
Keratin Buildup Under Toenails Causes: How To Get Rid Of It
Keratin is a type of protein which is found in hair, nail and the outer layer of skin. This fibrous protein keeps the nail strong and hard. However, at the same time a buildup of keratin under the nail can make the nail discolored and brittle and distorted. Keratin buildup can occur in fingernail as well as toenail. Though keratin is a hard material it can become soft under the nail when it comes in contact with moisture constantly.
Because of excess of buildup, in worst scenario the nail may get separated from the nail bed.
The best way to prevent keratin buildup is to prevent fungal infection or trauma. Treatment depends on the underlying cause, for example regular topical application of anti fungal cream will help to combat fungus in nail and thus get rid of excess of keratin.
Thick Skin Under Fingernails: Home Remedy
Naturally healthy nails are not surrounded by thick or dry skin. Like in the case of toenails, the skin under fingernails turns hard due to various internal and external factors.
- Fungal infection can be responsible for this unnatural texture of skin.
- Chronic skin diseases like psoriasis can show its effect over nail by making them thick.
- Ineffective blood circulation may turn soft skin under fingernails to thick.
Like in the case of toenails, you must initially diagnose with the help of an expert and accordingly start the treatment.
One common way to keep things at bay is to moisturize your hands with coconut oil or other essential oils. These oils are packed with antibacterial properties which can thwart infectious bacteria.
Bacteria grow in the moist and dark environment. So avoid wearing wet gloves, socks or shoes, and when you dont use them keep it under the sun.
These simple tips to get rid of thick skin under the toenails and fingernails may not show instant results but surely youll see long-lasting results if you regularly practice it.
Tips: How to Get Rid of Thick Skin Under Toenails and Fingernails
Prevention is the best option than treatment.
- Wash your toenails and fingernails regularly with anti-bacterial soap.
- Cut your nails short and avoid moisture between nails.
- Prefer shoes that absorb sweat.
- Avoid wearing old shoes.
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How To Trim Toenails With Fungus
This article was co-authored by and by wikiHow staff writer, Megaera Lorenz, PhD. Marta Nagorska is a Nail Technician and Nail Art Blogger based in London, UK. She runs the blog, Furious Filer, where she gives tutorials on nail care and advanced nail art. She has been practicing nail art for over 5 years and graduated from Northampton College with distinction with a Nail Technician and Manicurist degree in 2017. She has been awarded the top spot in the OPI Nail Art Competition.There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 54,603 times.
Fungal infections can thicken your toenails, making them difficult to trim. You might also be worried about spreading the infection to your other nails during trimming. Fortunately, you can make the trimming process safer and easier by choosing the right tools and softening your nails before you trim them. You can also protect your healthy nails by properly disinfecting your nail care tools after each use.
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.
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How To Get Rid Of Toenail Fungus With Home Remedies
While some may scoff at the good old home remedy, there is something to be said for the tried and true treatments handed down from our grandparents. Toenail fungus, like many other issues, is not a new problem and it stands to reason there were workable solutions before over the counter medications were available. So, lets look first at how to get rid of toenail fungus with home remedies. This list is far from being complete but the chosen remedies illustrate well this approach.
Baking Soda and Borax Both of these ingredients have been available from local retailers for a generation or better. They are used in a variety of home recipes including a treatment for toenail fungus. Mix equal parts of these powders with just enough water to create a paste, soak your feet to soften the nail and then apply baking powder borax paste to toenails.
Peroxide Good for cleaning a multitude of scrapes and mishaps, hydrogen peroxide is also a great home remedy treatment for nail fungus. Toenail fungus is anaerobic, which means it is not overly fond of oxygen, making peroxide a natural treatment option. Simply soak your nails twice per day in a 3% solution for at least two weeks. You can also brush the solution directly on your nail, full strength if you prefer.
Other home remedies include vinegar, tea tree oil, beer, Listerine mouthwash, chlorine bleach, oregano oil, lavender oil, and more.
Epidemiology Of Toenail Fungus
The occurrence of onychomycosis has been reported 23% across Europe and 20% in East Asia. In north America the statistics are found to be 14%, with fungal infections constituting the 50% of nail related diseases. Since this infection is contagious and can be transmitted directly or by using the belongings of an infected person, this serves as the reason for such wide spread rate of this infection.
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Tips To Prevent Fungal Nail Infections
Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent a fungal infection of the nails. Taking good care of your nails by keeping them well trimmed and clean is a good way to prevent infections.
Also avoid injuring the skin around your nails. If youre going to have damp or wet hands for an extended amount of time, you may want to wear rubber gloves.
Other ways to prevent fungal infections of the nails include:
- washing your hands after touching infected nails
- drying your feet well after showering, especially between your toes
- getting manicures or pedicures from trustworthy salons
- avoiding being barefoot in public places
- reducing your use of artificial nails and nail polish
Products to help you avoid nail fungus
If youre prone to excessive moisture around your fingernails or toenails, consider buying:
Laser Procedure For Toenail Fungus Under The Nails
Using a laser directly on the toenails helps to reach those areas underneath and inside the nail. This is because the type of light used can penetrate through the tough layers of the nails. Laser procedures are very convenient because they can be completed in under 10 minutes per foot.
The PinPointe foot laser is FDA-approved for the temporary increase of clear nail in patients with onychomycosis.
This machine can be used on almost all patients because it has virtually no side effects. In one study, over 83% of people who received three sessions with a laser and improved their foot hygiene had no fungi after 18-months.
Some people start to see visible improvement after just one visit, although you may need to return a small number of times for follow-up.
The laser works by targeting the fungi without hurting your skin and nails. Its designed to be at the right level to penetrate your nail and damage the infecting fungi, while not being too high to cause burning or pain for your feet. Most people dont feel anything, or they just feel a warming sensation.
At the time of the procedure, the toenail will usually not become instantly clearit takes time to grow out. As long as your infection is treated and you dont get re-infected, you should see new healthy, clear nail as it grows out within 12-18 months.
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How Are Thick Toenails Diagnosed
See a doctor if you notice a change in the appearance of your nails. Treating a fungal infection in its early stages will help prevent the condition from worsening.
Your doctor will look at your nails to diagnose the condition. The doctor may also take a swab underneath the nail or take a toenail clipping to diagnose the condition.
Complications Regarding Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungal infections are typically painless or at least start off that way. But without proper self-care and treatment, the condition can spiral into a more severe case of nail fungus, which can be painful and may cause irretrievable damage to your nails.
Moreover, the toenail infection can sprout other serious infections that can spread beyond your feet, particularly if you have a suppressed immune system due to certain medications, diabetes, or other conditions.
Because people with diabetes are already predisposed to reduced blood circulation and nerve supply in their feet, their odds for catching toenail infections as well as bacterial skin infection are quite high.
Thus, it is imperative for people with diabetes to seek professional medical help for any seemingly minor foot injury including a nail fungal infection to avoid any future complications.
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How Fungi Infect The Nail
Onchomycosis, or toenail fungal infection, is an invasion by a microscopic organism that thrives in warm, damp environments. Fungal spores are in the air, and they will grow if they land on a receptive surface like your toenail. They feed off the nail tissues, burrowing into the skin under the nail. Over time the nail thickens and may lift off the nail bed as fungal debris accumulates. Once your nail is raised off the nail bed, it won’t reattach, and a new nail won’t grow from that part of the nail bed. However, your nail will continue to grow from the root at the base.
Do I Have Black Toenail Fungus Or A Bruise Underneath My Toenail
- In our experience, it is much more likely to have a bruise underneath the toenail rather than black toenail fungus.
- In a lot of people, it is common to have both toenail fungi develop first. This toenail fungus can make the toenail thicker, leading to bleeding and bruising developing underneath the toenail.
- This can make the toenail thick, dark, and discolored.
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Common Symptoms Of Toenail Fungus
Many cases of toenail fungus are mild and may not bother you, so you may not even realize you have a fungal infection. A toenail fungal infection can begin as a white or yellow spot under the toenail and present no other symptoms. As the condition worsens, it may become painful or uncomfortable when you walk in shoes, and you may notice a change in the appearance of the nail.
The following symptoms are common if you have a fungal nail infection:
- Nails that turn white or yellow or have yellow or white stripes
- Thickened or oddly-shaped toenails
- Nails that are brittle or crumbling
- Nails that separate from the nail bed or fall off completely
- Foul odor from the infected toenail
What The Experts Say
The most common presentation of toenail fungus is a white/yellow discoloration of the nail that is thick and filled with yellow/white keratin debris. The more severe the toenail fungus, the thicker the nail, and the more nails involved makes it that much harder to treat the nails even with effective therapies.Orit Markowitz, MD, founder and CEO of OptiSkin treatment center in New York City.
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How To Get Rid Of Yellow Nails
Treatment of yellow nails will depend on the cause. Most likely, your nails have become discolored because of an infection you have or a product you used. These home remedies are based on those causes of discoloration. However, it is important to be aware that home remedies are not always effective. See your physician if home remedies arent helpful in eliminating discoloration. If you dont already have a doctor, our Healthline FindCare tool can help you connect to physicians in your area.
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.
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Do Fungal Nail Infections Occur On Both Hands & Feet
Fungal nail infections tend to affect toenails far more than fingernails. This is because the feet are more often exposed to the kind of environments and surfaces where this type of infection thrives.
The infection can appear on any part of your nail but usually occurs under the nail plate on the nail bed.
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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Keep After Your Feet Even If It Looks Like The Fungus Is Gone
The same fungus that causes athletes foot is the one that will infect the nails. So after youve treated the fungus and it looks like its out, the patient still has a lot of responsibility, Dr. Lipner says. You need to make sure it doesnt come back by applying an antifungal producta basic athletes foot productto your feet daily. If you get the fungus invading your feet, youll probably get it back in your nails, too. Apply an antifungal cream, spray, or powder to the shoes or the feet daily, she says. To some people, its a habit like brushing your teeth. For others, getting them to do it is like pulling teeth.
Know The Truth About Otc Remedies
When it comes to off-the-shelf toenail fungus products, theres probably no harm in using these medications, says Dr. Lipner. But the efficacy is not very good. So youre probably wasting your time, and youre probably wasting your money.
Same with the home remedy of using Vicks VapoRub. It works okay on a not-so-common type of foot fungus, but for the one most people have, it doesnt work well, she says. I think people believe that OTC products are safer in some way, but the reality is that they havent been approved by the FDAthey havent gone through extensive testing on thousands of patients. Why would you use products that havent been very well studied?
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