How To Get Rid Of Toe Fungus
This article was co-authored by . Dr. Mark Co is a Podiatrist who runs his own private practice in San Francisco, California. Dr. Co specializes in treatments for bunions, ingrown toenails, toenail fungus, warts, plantar fasciitis and other causes of foot pain. He also offers custom orthotics for the treatment and prevention of foot and ankle issues. Dr. Co completed a Master of Business Administration at New York University and an MA in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Co also completed his DPM at the California School of Podiatric Medicine and a residency and internship at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Santa Clara, California. Dr. Co was awarded San Francisco’s “Top 3 Podiatrists” in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Dr. Co is also a member of the CPMA .There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 96% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,481,677 times.
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.
Toenail Fungus Treatment Complications
Here are some things to think about when deciding on a nail fungus treatment.
If you have a disease like diabetes, your doctor will make sure you treat nail fungus. This illness often makes you more likely to have other problems from minor foot issues.
You may not be able to take antifungal pills because of side effects or because they donât work well with other drugs you take. If that’s the case, try a product that goes onto your nail. Your doctor will call this a topical treatment.
Be patient. Your nails may not look “normal” after treatment. It can take as long as a year to 18 months for your nail to grow out a fungus.
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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 .
Tips To Combat Foot Fungus
The best way to combat foot fungus is to reduce your exposure to it. There are simple things you can do to prevent from contracting foot and nail fungus.
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Best For Fingernails: Dr Remedy Anti
Applying cuticle oil daily is arguably one of the best things you can do to keep your nails both healthy and hydrated. And this one goes above and beyond the call of duty, thanks to the inclusion of undecylenic acid, an ingredient to help treat and even prevent fungal infections from starting. The other nice thing? The formula can even permeate polish, meaning you can apply the oil even if your nails are painted.
This is one of my favorite products from Remedy Nails, raved a fan. Ive suffered from toenail fungus for years and tried many products. This has been the only one Ive had success with. I love using it on my fingernails as well. My cuticles look healthy!
Can Povidone Iodine Cure Toenail Fungus
As a tincture, it has broad antiseptic activity. You are correct that it kills fungus. Tincture of iodine is dark brown, and it can stain, so not everyone will want to use it on the face. Other readers have also reported success applying tincture of iodine to fungus-infected nails.
Also Know, what is the most effective treatment for toenail fungus? Prescription medicines include griseofulvin , itraconazole , and terbinafine . Of these medications, itraconazole and terbinafine are the most effective. They cure 70 to 80% of infections with one course of treatment. Griseofulvin cures 30 to 70% of infections with one course.
Similarly, it is asked, will povidone iodine kill fungus?
Primarily iodophors work by delivering active molecular iodine to target tissues through enhanced aqueous solubilization. The most commonly used iodophor is povidoneiodine. Povidoneiodine kills microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, yeasts, molds, fungi and protozoa .
Can you file away toenail fungus?
Treating Toenail Fungus MedicallyIn white superficial onychomycosis, for example, the white patches of fungus that form on the nails can sometimes simply be filed off and an over-the-counter antifungal topical medication can be applied to the nail to kill the fungus.
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How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Take To Cure Toenail Fungus
The antifungal properties also make vinegar soaks a good idea for people who have toenail fungus. Soak your feet for 10 to 15 minutes daily in a vinegar bath until the infection subsides. You can increase the length of time in the soak gradually. It may take two to three weeks or longer to see improvement in symptoms.
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Tips For Keeping Toenail Fungus From Returning
Toenail fungus is a tough foe to battle. The sooner its found out, the easier it tends to be to treat. Unfortunately, most cases are not discovered until the fungus has had a good opportunity to entrench itself in your toenail.
Treatment has likely taken months, but youve reached that light at the end of the tunnel. The fungus has been declared eradicated and youre already growing new, clear toenails to replace the war-torn battlefields that once were. Well done!
Unfortunately, it can come back.
A fungal toenail infection is not like a cold. Having had it doesnt really mean your immune system is fully geared up to keep the same case from returning. And, like a cold, there is more than one type of nasty organism out there that can cause similar symptomsin this case, discolored, crumbling, thickened nails.
You know how bad it is. The last thing you want is to fight that battle over again, and people with diabetes should be especially careful of any type of infection. You also dont want anyone you live with to have to go through it, either!
So what can you do to prevent toenail fungus from coming back? Quite a lot.
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About Fungal Nail Infection
Many people develop a fungal nail infection at some point in their life. It’s not usually serious, but can be unpleasant and difficult to treat.
The infection develops slowly and causes the nail to become discoloured, thickened and distorted.
Toenails are more frequently affected than the fingernails.
The medical name for a fungal nail infection is onychomycosis.
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.
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Is Cellulitis Contagious
Cellulitis usually doesnt spread from person to person. It is possible to catch a bacterial skin infection if you have an open cut on your skin that touches skin that has an active infection.
If you do develop cellulitis from a transmitted infection, it could be dangerous if you dont treat it in a timely manner. This is why its important to tell your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms of cellulitis.
Complications of cellulitis can be severe if left untreated. Some complications can include:
- severe tissue damage
Your doctor will likely be able to diagnose cellulitis just by looking at your skin. A physical exam might reveal:
- swelling of the skin
- redness and warmth of the affected area
- swollen glands
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may want to monitor the affected area for a few days to see if the discoloration and swelling spread. In some cases, your doctor may take blood or a sample of the wound to test for bacteria.
Sizing Up Risk Factors
People who have chronic athletes foot are at risk for developing toenail fungus, and there seems to be a genetic predisposition. Sometimes the fungus gets into the nail bed after the nail was cracked or cut too short. The fungus also lurks in shared showers, around pools and a lot of Vlahovics patients tell her their troubles started after getting a pedicure.
The very place where people go to beautify their feet and toenails is often responsible for spreading disease, says Tennessee podiatrist Dr. Robert Spalding. He has written a book called Death by Pedicure and has been on a decade-long crusade to make nail salons safer.
They use contaminated instruments, in some cases, or they dont take the time to properly disinfect and follow their state protocols, Spalding said. Nail fungus and other microorganisms are really tough to kill, and Spalding says the only sure-fire way to sterilize the instruments is to use something called an autoclave.
An autoclave is basically a pressure cooker, he said. Its steam under pressure, for a certain amount of time. Its how instruments are cleaned for surgery.
The foot-soaking tubs are another cesspool of infection that Spalding says some salons are eliminating. Now they are going to tubs that have liners. They dont use the jets as much. And they are coming up with something called a dry pedicure, where they just take hot towels and soak the feet, Spalding said.
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Colorless Iodine Can Strengthen Nails Kill Fungus: Heloise
Dear Heloise: While looking for colorless iodine, I came across your column. Ive never heard that iodine strengthens nails, but I will tell you from a lifetime of use, it can kill nail fungus infections.
It works better if you can use a dropper rather than the brush. Toenails grow very slowly and the area should remain exposed as much as possible . Its a long process and depends on how far under the nail the fungus resides. A minimum of six months to get clear. Monika H., Yonkers, New York
Dear Monika: I have long touted decolorized iodine to strengthen weak and brittle nails. Use every day for one week, and then once a week for maintenance.
Im glad to hear that white iodine also works for fungus on nails, but always check with your medical provider or pharmacist. Look for decolorized iodine at the pharmacy or online. Heloise
Dear Heloise: I see some girls store their leather handbags in plastic dust covers. This is a no-no for me. Leather needs to breathe. I store my bags in plain white pillowcases. I attach a picture of the bag on the outside, so I know whats inside. Gia in New Mexico
Dear Gia: Great storage idea! I love reusing old pillowcases, and picture labeling makes a lot of sense. Heloise
Dear Heloise: With all the recent downtime, Ive been making a point of doing the many things Ive been meaning to do!
Deep cleaning the house is an obvious goal, but I deep cleaned my car and garage also!
Softening And Scraping Away The Nail
As it can take a long time for antifungal medication to work, some people may prefer to use a treatment that involves softening and removing infected parts of nail over a few weeks.
Treatment kits are available from pharmacies that contain a 40% urea paste, plasters and a scraping device. The paste softens the infected parts of the nail, allowing them to be scraped away so they can be gradually replaced with healthy nail.
To use the treatment:
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Why Does It Develop
A fungal nail infection occurs from the overgrowth of fungi in, under, or on the nail. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, so this type of environment can cause them to naturally overpopulate. The same fungi that cause jock itch, athletes foot, and ringworm can cause nail infections.
Fungi that are already present in or on your body can cause nail infections. If you have come in contact with someone else who has a fungal infection, you may have contracted it as well. Fungal infections affect toenails more commonly than fingernails, likely because your toes are usually confined to shoes, where theyre in a warm, moist environment.
If you get a manicure or pedicure at a nail salon, be sure to ask how the staff disinfects their tools and how often they do it. Tools, such as emery boards and nail clippers, can spread fungal infections from person to person if theyre not sanitized.
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.
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Whos At Risk For Fungal Infections
There are many different causes of fungal nail infections. Each cause has a treatment of its own. Although many of the causes of a fungal nail infection are preventable, some risk factors increase the likelihood of developing one. Youre more likely to develop a fungal nail infection if you:
- wear closed-toe shoes, such as tennis shoes or boots
Nail infections occur more often in men than in women, and the infections are found in adults more often than in children. If you have family members who often get these types of fungal infections, youre more likely to get them as well.
Older adults have a high risk for getting fungal nail infections because they have poorer circulation. The nails also grow more slowly and thicken as we age.
A fungal infection of the nail may affect part of the nail, the entire nail, or several nails.
Common signs of a fungal nail infection include:
- a distorted nail that may lift off from the nail bed
- an odor coming from the infected nail
- a brittle or thickened nail