How To Treat Fungal Toenail
There are quite a few at-home remedies on how to treat fungal toenail. Most of these treatments are highly effective, though it is always best to seek professional help. This way, you can prevent further irritating and aggravating your fungal infection and discoloured toenail.
Since there are a plethora of available at-home treatments, not all of them may be best suited to you. In fact, the effectiveness of treatment truly depends on your symptoms and situation. Seeing a professional podiatrist will ensure a proper diagnosis which will lead to better treatment. In general, podiatrists will prescribe you with oral antifungal medications. These medicines are very effective and show the most potential in toenail fungus treatment. Apart from oral medicines, you may even be prescribed a topical antifungal cream. Pairing these two is usually your best bet for swift treatment.
Apart from this, here are a few common at-home remedies on how to treat fungal toenail:
Your Options For Treating Toenail Fungus
If you think you may have toenail fungus, you should see a podiatrist or dermatologist, who will send a specimen or a piece of your nail to a lab. Different types of fungus are treated slightly differently, so its important to know which type you have, says Sundling.
Also, sometimes the root of the problem is not a fungus at all, but rather another condition, or some kind of trauma to the nail bed for instance, if you dropped something on your toe. There is no treatment for toenail trauma, but removing the nail may be an option if the nail is painful.
If you do have a toenail fungus, your doctor will likely recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
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Do Certain Sports Put Your Nails At Risk For Injury
We definitely see a lot of nail problems with sports that require a lot of running, dancing or kicking. Chronic rubbing of the toe on the toe-box of shoes can cause lifting and bruising of the nail.
If you do a lot of running, keep nails short, and choose shoes with a wider toe box. And at the gym, be sure to wear flip-flops in the locker room and by the pool, so you dont pick up a fungus.
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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
Fungal Nail Infection Symptoms
Because the toes and feet are often exposed to damp, warm areas, where the infection is spread, fungal nail infections affect the toes more than the fingers. Your feet are also more likely to be exposed to fungal infections if you:
- Spend time at swimming pools
- Walk around a lot in locker rooms
- Wear the same pair of damp, sweaty sneakers all the time
- Injure your toenail
At first, you may have no outward symptoms. But over time, your nails may:
- Have white spots appear on the surface
- Turn white, yellow, green or brown
- Grow thicker than normal or, in some cases, thinner than normal
- Become brittle, with broken or jagged edges
- Change shape, curling up or down
- Lift off of the nail bed
- Smell bad
- Cause you pain
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Nail Polish And Contaminated Equipment
A 2018 study found evidence that fungi may be able to live and multiply in some nail polishes. It may be a good idea to avoid sharing nail polish.
Contaminated equipment at a nail salon can also expose you to types of fungi that may lead to an infection.
Your fungal infection may not cause any symptoms in the beginning, until it progresses.
As the infection gets worse, you may experience:
Fingernail infections often clear up on their own or with home remedies. Antifungal medications are used for more serious infections.
How To Make A Paste
In order to use baking soda for toenail fungus, you will have to create a paste.
Luckily, it is something you can easily do at your own home. This is precisely why people love home remedies. You already have these ingredients you have to mix them and apply them in the comfort of your own home. There is no need to visit a doctor or deal with long queues at pharmacies.
Just take a little bit of baking soda and mix it with lukewarm water until it becomes applicable. Then, put it on top of your nail as well as under it. The treatment has to be performed each day, several times a day. Make sure to leave the paste for at least 10 to 15 minutes. It might seem a bit overbearing, but there is no other way to treat the condition .
According to several studies, baking soda provides excellent results for toenail fungus, and there is no reason why it shouldnt help you as well.
After 10, 15 minutes, it is essential to rinse baking soda thoroughly. Wash your feet, and dry them well. Keep in mind that high humidity is perhaps the biggest issue, so you will have to remember that at all times. It is also common for a toenail to fall completely off. This is very normal, and you shouldnt be scared if it happens health, a new nail will appear in its stead!
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How To Tell If Your Toenail Fungus Is Dying Off
If youâve found a good toenail fungus treatment and now are wondering about the signs your toenail fungus is finally dying off, youâve come to the right place.
In this short guide, we are going to walk you through what to expect when youâre treating toenail fungus.
This treatment can be a lengthy process, so itâs important to stick with it and see it all to the very end.
When To See Your Doctor
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.
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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.
Your Toenail Is Lifting Off The Nail Bed
Nail lifting is a common symptom of fungal nail infections. It can affect both the fingernails and toenails. In this case, the nail can be lifting at the edge or sides of the nails. It can also separate from the end of the nail bed or even separate completely from the toe.
Other signs and symptoms that can indicate you have a toenail fungus:
- Pain on your toenail or around it
- Foul odor from your toenail
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What Is A Toenail Infection
A toenail infection occurs when bacteria or a fungus grows on or under your nail.
Symptoms of a fungal nail infection include:
- yellow or brown discolouration of the nail
- the nail is crumbly when cut
- the nail gets thicker
- the nail separates from the nail bed
If you have diabetes, it is important to see your doctor as soon as symptoms appear. A toenail infection can cause complications.
Your Toenail Becomes Thick And Crumble
There are many reasons for thick, dry and crumbling nails, including:
- Toenail fungus
- Trauma or injury of the nails
But, toenail fungus is considered the first and most common reason. It causes your toenail to become dry, thick, brittle and crumbling. If you notice these symptoms in your nails, see a dermatologist for a check-up.
Thick, crumbling toenails
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Bruised Toenail Or Fungus
One of the sure-fire ways to tell if its just a bruise or toenail fungus is if its spreading. The area of discoloration will not get bigger if its a bruise.
Another way to differentiate between nail fungus and a bruise is to watch how it moves as your nail grows.
Nail fungus starts at the tip of the nail and spreads toward the base of the nail. Because your nails grow from the base of the nail up, it sort of looks like its not moving because the fungus is spreading in the opposite direction than the nail is growing.
A bruise on the other hand, can start anywhere on the nail, depending on where the trauma happened. As your nail grows out, the bruise will move up with the growing nail, toward the tip of the nail.
But unless you plan to sit there with your foot under a film camera for the next few weeks and watch it back on timelapse video, it can be hard to tell because toenails grow so slowly.
The average toenail grows only 1.6mm per month, so any moving your bruise or fungus will be doing is not something you can watch with the naked eye.
One thing you can do is take a zoomed-in, close-up picture of your toe. Then take a picture a month later and note the distance of the discoloration from the base of the nail in the second photo compared to the first.
If theres a bigger distance between the base of the nail and the discoloration from the first photo, then you know that you have a bruise and not toenail fungus.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Youve heard the saying, now lets ensure it doesnt happen to you again:
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Nail Color And Structure Changes
Keratin is a protein that promotes the development of the skin and nails. Nail psoriasis sometimes causes too much keratin to grow under the nail. This overgrowth is called subungual hyperkeratosis.
People with hyperkeratosis may notice a white, chalky substance under the nail. When this occurs in the toenails, the pressure of shoes pushing down on the nails might cause pain.
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.
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Symptoms Of Fungal Nails
The good news is that if you catch it early enough, it can be fairly easy to eradicate toenail fungus and save your nails from further damage.
So how do you catch it in the early stages?
Well, inspecting your nails every day is the first step. Especially because toenail fungus can be present a very long time without causing noticeable symptoms.
Here are things you should look for when you examine your nails:
- Darkening or discoloration of the affected nail
- White or discolored spots that arent from an injury
- Thickening or distortion of the nail
- Unusual white or yellow streaks in your nail
- Crumbling along the edges or tips of the nail, particularly where its discolored
- Redness and swelling
- Foul odor emitting from the nail
- Pain when walking or wearing shoes
- The nail starts to separate from the nail bed
If you notice one or more of these symptoms in your toenails, dont wait for them to go away on their own the infection will most likely continue to grow and spread .
Instead, get them diagnosed right away so the fungus can be eliminated quickly and before it causes visible damage to your nail.
What Does A Toenail Bruise Look Like
The color of your toenail is a good indicator of whats going on. Toenail bruising usually starts off as a dark red and turns purple, then dark rusty brown, and finally, it turns black.
And If the dark spot in the nail looks shiny, you can still see through the nail around the colored spot to the nail bed, and the discolored spot is uniform in color , then its most likely a bruise.
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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.
Athletes Foot Or Tinea Pedis
This is one of the most common infections. Because of how easily it spreads, it can be hard to treat if not detected on time.
It mainly affects athletesdue to the heat and sweat inside their shoes during exercise, creating an ideal environment for the growth of fungus.
However, anybody can get it, especially if you dont take preventative measures to avoid its growth on your feet and shoes.
Here are some symptoms of foot fungus that can help you distinguish it from other fungal infections:
- Your feet, especially between your fourth and fifth toes, are red.
- You feel burning and itching between your toes as well as on the soles of your feet.
- There are small cracks on your toes and sole.
- You see scabs or blisters on your skin.
- There is a strong odor, even after washing your feet.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Subungual Melanoma
Diagnosing and treating subungual melanoma is much more involved.
Once your doctor performs the initial assessment and determines you might have subungual melanoma, theyll commonly suggest a nail biopsy.
A nail biopsy is the primary diagnostic tool available for making a definitive diagnosis. A dermatologist or nail specialist will remove some or all of the nail for examination.
If theres a diagnosis of cancer, depending on the severity and how early it was found, treatment can include:
- surgery to remove the affected nail
- amputation of the knuckles of the finger or toe
- amputation of the entire finger or toe
What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Toenail Fungus
The most effective toenail fungus treatment for you will largely depend on your symptoms and situation. Your provider will consider several factors before recommending a treatment plan thats customized to you.
Overall, oral antifungal medications may offer the most treatment potential. Pairing oral drugs with topical antifungal medication may make treatment more effective.
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Staying One Step Ahead Of Toenail Fungus
An established fungal infection is hard to eradicate, but you can stop its spread and improve your toenail’s appearance.
Toenail fungus isn’t a pressing health problem. Yet a fungal infection can ruin the appearance of your nails and cause pain as it lifts the nail away from the nail bed. And fungal infections are notoriously difficult to get rid of. “You may want to consider fungal toenail a condition to be managed rather than cured,” says Dr. James P. Ioli, chief of the podiatry service at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.