Preventing Toenail Fungus From Spreading
While you can’t avoid contact with the microscopic organisms that cause toenail fungus its present anywhere that is warm, dark, or moist keeping your feet clean and dry and clipping your nails properly can help prevent an infection.
For fungus to grow, there needs to be some type of trauma to the nail where the nail-skin junction, or natural barrier, is disrupted, says Sheth. For example, from a pedicure, ill-fitting shoes, or the repetitive trauma of running or hiking that causes the nail to lift or get pressed on from shoes or boots.
Still, some people are more vulnerable than others, she adds. Some people have it only on one toe or one foot, and some have lived with a partner who has it but they never get it,” Sheth says. “And for some you see it in their entire family. It’s not as straightforward as it seems, and it’s an annoying problem.
If you do get a toenail fungus infection, these measures can help stop it from spreading:
Getting rid of established toenail fungus can be difficult. Successfully eliminating it depends on careful adherence to a treatment plan.
“What happens over time is that the fungus breeds in the nail tissue and goes from being just a little bit on the nail, to a really discolored and thickened nail, to a nail that is totally embedded with fungus,” explains Marlene Reid, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Naperville, Illinois, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.
How Long Does It Take To Recover
You need to be consistent with the treatment in order to see results. It usually takes a few months for the nail to heal completely. Healing time depends on how severe the infection is and how quickly your body responds to the treatment.
The fungal infection is cured when youve grown an entirely new nail thats free from infection.
You can continue the tea tree oil treatment after the nail has healed to ensure that the nail fungus doesnt return.
Its important that you use a high-quality tea tree oil for best results. Here are some things to look for when buying tea tree oil:
- The oil needs to be 100 percent pure.
- Buy an organic oil, if possible.
- Look for a tea tree oil that has a 10 to 40 percent concentration of terpinen. This is one of the main antiseptic and antifungal components of tea tree oil.
You can buy tea tree oil online or at a local health store. Always buy from a brand that you trust. The supplier should be able to answer any questions you have about their product.
Research your brands and manufacturers. Essential oils can have issues with purity, contamination, and strength. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration doesnt regulate essential oils, so its important to purchase from a supplier you trust.
How Is Toenail Fungus Treated
Toenail fungus is notoriously tricky to treat. You may need to treat the condition for several months to get rid of the fungus. Still, toenail fungus often comes back.
A dermatologist or podiatrist can explain your treatment options. If you have a mild case that doesnt bother you, your provider may recommend no treatment.
Toenail fungus treatment options include:
- Oral antifungal medication: You take prescribed medication, such terbinafine , itraconazole and fluconazole , to treat the fungi. You will need to take this medication every day for several months . Your provider may use blood tests to check for potential medication side effects. These medications can affect the liver and interact with other medications, so oral antifungals are not for everyone.
- Topical medication: You regularly apply a medication right on the nail. The medication treats the fungi over time. Topical medications are most effective when paired with oral medications.
- Laser treatments: Your provider directs a high-tech laser beam and special lights at the toenail to treat the fungus. Lasers are FDA approved for temporary increase of clear nail in nail fungus but is not a cure. Cure rates for laser treatment are lower than oral and topical mediations so they are not typically used as first line treatments for nail fungus.
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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 To Treat Toenail Fungus With Lemon Juice And Olive Oil
Another effective home remedy that can fight the fungal infection on toenail is the mixture of lemon juice and olive oil. Regular application of this mixture will give you your beautiful nails in no time. Know how this natural treatment works to give you amazing results.
How to use?
- Squeeze out the fresh lemon juice
- To the juice add an equal amount of olive oil
- Apply the mixture on the infected nail
- Gently massage the blend and leave it for a few hours
- After that, rinse it off and pat the nail dry
- Repeat this remedy daily to get the desired results.
Benefits of Lemon juice and olive oil mixture
Lemon juice has strong acidic and antimicrobial properties that fight off the fungal infection. It soothes your skin and controls the growth of fungus. Olive oil moisturizes the skin and keeps it soft and supple. Use this remedy daily for some time, and you will get smooth and beautiful skin devoid of any infection.
Lemon juice may irritate sensitive skin. Hence, those with a history of allergy must rub a small amount of the lemon juice on their arm to check their skins sensitivity to the lemon.
Also Check: Does Hydrogen Peroxide Help Toenail Fungus
Soak Your Feet In Vinegar
Heres another pantry item that can deliver optimal results for toenail fungal infections. According to Hayag, applying white vinegar to the fungal-infected areas can prove worthwhile, thanks to its antibacterial properties.
Similar to oregano oil, applying white vinegar topically on fungus-infected toenails has some anecdotal evidence that supports its antibacterial benefits. Soak your foot in one part vinegar to two parts warm water for up to 20 minutes daily, she suggests, saying that this can help with the fungus, help with just the discoloration, or it may not help at all, depending on how your toes react.
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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Does Hydrogen Peroxide Kill Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is a really nasty condition.
Perhaps the only positive thing about it is that it’s easy to diagnose. Even you can notice the discoloration of the toenails, which may turn white, yellow, or brown. The condition is mostly visual, but if left untreated, there is a good chance that it will affect other toenails as well.
Also read: Why Are My Toenails Yellow?
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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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
When to see a doctor for toenail fungus
Preventing toenail fungus
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.
Also Check: Will Vinegar Help Toenail Fungus
How To Use Lemongrass Essential Oil For Treating Toenail Fungus
Another essential oil which comes in the list of natural remedies for treating toenail fungus is Lemongrass Essential Oil. It is highly effective in fighting the white toenail fungus.
How to use?
- Mix a few drops of lemongrass Essential Oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil
- Apply this blend on the affected area with a cotton swab
- Use this remedy daily until the infection clears.
Benefits of Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass Essential oil can effectively treat the toenail fungus owing to its strong antifungal and antibacterial properties. Application of the oil not only kills the fungus but also prevents other symptoms of the infection like fragile and crumbly nails.
Using Lemongrass Essential oil in undiluted form can harm your skin. Hence you must dilute it with a carrier oil.
How Do I Know If I Have Toenail Or Foot Fungus
Toenail fungus, also know as onychomcosis, is characterized by inflammation, thickening, swelling, yellowing, and pain of the toenail and toe. Another symptom is crumbling of the toenail. Its caused by an abnormal PH of the skin, which can happen because of poor hygiene, a bad immune system, exposure to high levels of moisture, and/or poor circulation. These toenail fungus treatments will prevent or get rid of the problem.
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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?
Stop This Skin Infection In Its Tracks With These Over
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Verywell / Sabrina Jiang
Toenail fungus is a common fungal condition that often starts after a rash on the foot spreads to the nails. When mild, it looks like white and yellow spots growing under the nail beds. But if left untreated, the fungus can grow severely by hardening the nails and spreading to other toes.
The fungus often begins in the form of athlete’s foot between the toes or on the soles of the feet. At this stage, the fungal infection is easier to treat with over-the-counter medication. But Shari Lipner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine, told Verywell Health toenail fungus can be difficult to treat because of how slow the nails grow. 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, she says.
Diagnosing the fungal infection early is key to make treatments effective. Dr. Lipner recommends visiting a board-certified dermatologist to properly treat the infection if it grows to be too severe.
Here are a few of the best over-the-counter toenail fungus treatments on the market.
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The Podiatrist’s Take On Home Remedies
While home remedies are unlikely to cause any harm in themselves, Dr. Hinkes urges caution when relying on them when looking for how to get rid of toenail fungus. “Resorting to folk remedies can be dangerous because it could keep the patient from getting a legitimate diagnosis and treatment,” he says. “Now in some people, this could be a critical thing, because it can be contagiousyou can pass it to other people and you can pass it to other parts of your body. So it’s really not something you want to fool with.” Dr. Hinkes’ advice is clear: Visit a foot care specialist. This could be a podiatrist, but foot care nurses also offer an excellent and affordable service as an alternative. And if neither of those is available, try a dermatologist. Left untreated, this condition won’t go away on its own and can cause serious pain, deformity, and even lead to further complications. Podiatrists recommend seeking expert helpyou’re better safe than sorry. If you’re desperate, though, try these DIY foot and toenail fungus treatments.
Dangers Of Traditional Treatment Options
Fungal nail infection is treatable with oral anti-fungal drugs, topical medications, surgery, or laser treatments. The problem with these modern treatments, however, is that they can sometimes cause complications. Depending on the chosen treatment, some of the possible side effects that may occur include skin rashes, blisters, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal issues, headaches, respiratory problems, abnormal nail growth, or liver damage.
Due to the many risks associated with modern treatments for fungal nail infection, many people are now opting for alternative remedies that are relatively safer. As an added bonus, its also possible to treat fungal nail infection using just a few basic ingredients one already has available at home.
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Pathophysiology Of Toenail Fungus
The pathophysiology of a disease refers to the study of changes caused by it to the suffering organ or organism. In the case of toenail and fingernail fungal infections, the pathophysiology of the nail is altered such that it is not able to provide its normal function. The nail becomes distorted, weak and the whole morphology may appear different. The function of the nail is to protect by providing a hard covering to the nail bed. In this case, the affected nail part or even the whole nail fails to do so. This results in weakening of the nail and often times the nail even gets separated from the nail bed.