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How Does Someone Get Toenail Fungus

Stop This Skin Infection In Its Tracks With These Over

How do you get Toenail Fungus?

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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 athleteâs 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.

Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus

Risk factors | Diagnosis | Home remedies | Over-the-counter medicine | Prescription drugs | When to see a doctor

Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium, is a common nail condition affecting millions of people in the United States. Fungal nail infections can develop on the nail from various organisms such as molds, yeasts, and fungi. This usually occurs after these organisms come into contact with a cracked nail or skin surrounding the nail as the opening provides a portal of entry for these organisms.

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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Apple Cider Vinegar Drops On Toenail Fungus

Aside from foot soak, you can use apple cider vinegar for toenail fungus treatment by applying drops of the apple cider vinegar directly to your toenail bed. Once applied, you should allow the ACV to sit on your toenail bed for about 10-15 minutes undisturbed.

This method works perfectly for those who do not have 30 minutes two times daily to soak their feet in Apple cider vinegar. For quicker results, those who want can combine this method with the foot soak method.

Whichever of these two methods you intend to use to treat your toenail fungus, should be used for several months or until the fungus toenail is restored back to it normal state.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar for Toenail Fungus Home Remedy Have Any Side Effects

Home remedies generally have no side effects and thats not different with Apple cider vinegar for toenail fungus treatment. ACV is used as preservative we eat them in our foods at home and cause us no harm. They are only harmful to fungi. However, in everything moderation is important. You should not overuse ACV foot soak simply because you want to get rid of your toenail fungus infection overnight.

How Long Does It Take For Apple Cider Vinegar To Cure or Kill Toenail Fungus

Treating Fungal Nail Infection

How Does Nail Fungus Infection Develop And Get Deeper ...

Treatment may not be necessary in mild cases of fungal nail infection. For more severe or troublesome cases, antifungal medication may be recommended.

A fungal nail infection is unlikely to get better without treatment, but if you’re not bothered by it you might decide it’s not worth treating because treatment can take a long time, may cause side effects, and isn’t always effective.

Whether or not you decide to have treatment, you should still follow the self-help advice below to help stop the condition getting worse or spreading to others.

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The Price Certainly Doesn’t Get Any Better

If you are going to try a treatment for toenail fungus then one thing you definitely have to consider is the price… and the price here is pretty darn good fortunately.

A 1.76 oz little tub usually costs somewhere around $5-6 and you can pick it up at any Walmart, Walgreen’s, CVS, and plenty other stores.

That is a very cheap treatment and I’m sure you are well aware of that if you have been searching for treatments for any good length of time.

There are some rather ridiculously priced toenail fungus treatments out there that show less promising results than VICKS.

*Emuaid MAX is a more expensive topical treatment, but is something else you may want to read about. It is one of the very few toenail fungus treatments that we recommend here at Operation Wellness.

Why You Should Never Let Toenail Fungus Go Untreated

Have you retired those adorable strappy sandals, even though theyre the perfect complement to your summery outfits? They definitely wont work with whats going on with your toenails so youve had to opt for a closed-toe option. Toenail fungus is definitely not a good look.

There are plenty of home remedies, but they dont seem to work. And nail fungus doesnt just go away on its own. Fortunately, the team at Easton Dermatology Associates can address any nail fungus issue you may have with a diverse menu of treatment options. We customize our approach to your particular infections history and severity.

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Fungal Nails Affect More People Than You Think

Fungal toenails can stop someone from going to the beach or swimming pool if they feel self-conscious about showing their feet in public. Ironically, even going to a Yoga class can be source of frustration when you have fungal toenails.

We see fungal toenails, or onychomycosis, several times a week in our clinic. An infected toenail may be thick, crumble when trimmed, and appear white, yellow, brown, or greenish. Alternatively, some fungal infections leave a white, powdery substance on the nail plate. Toenail fungus infections are believed to effect up to 12% of the world’s population – it is a common problem that effects a lot of people.

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How to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus Effectively

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What About The Cost Of Oral Medications For Fungal Nails

A further consideration is cost. Because newer oral antifungal agents are very expensive, some insurance companies balk at paying for what they consider a “cosmetic issue,” unless nail fungus causes pain or other functional symptoms. Terbinafine and fluconazole are now available as generic drugs and are quite inexpensive.

Is Toenail Fungus Contagious

Yes, toenail fungus is contagious. You have to catch it from somewhere while it might seem like it just appeared on its own out of nowhere, if youve got toenail fungus then youve come into contact with someone else who is infected.

While it might not be classified as highly contagious, it is still very easy to spread a fungal toenail infection from one person to another, typically through sharing items that have come into contact with the infection think shoes, socks, nail polish, nail tools, etc.

In terms of spreading the fungal infection from one person to another, one of the most common places for an infection to spread is at a nail salon. If a person who has a fungal infection has a nail treatment and the tools are not properly sterilised between treatments, or a bottle of nail polish is used on an infected person, it can easily be spread to other patrons at the salon. If you regularly go for pedicures, be sure to ask about their sterilisation techniques and practices and take your own nail polish.

However, this is not the most common way of catching a toenail fungus mainly because toenail fungus is much more common in men than it is in women.

For most people, the fungus that has infected their toenails started off as a case of athletes foot. This is typically spread from person to person by walking barefoot in the showers at your gym or at your local swimming pool, which is why you should always wear flip flops or sandals when in any damp/wet area.

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How Can I Prevent Toenail Fungus

Theres no way to guarantee that you wont get toenail fungus. But you can take several steps to help prevent it:

  • Avoid going barefoot in communal areas such as hotel rooms / showers, public showers, locker rooms and swimming pools. Most people pick up fungus in these situations. It helps to wear flip flops in these public areas.
  • If you have a family member with foot fungus or nail fungus, try to use different shower or wear flip flops in the shower to avoid coming in contact with it.
  • Trauma due to accidental or aggressive clipping of the nails can turn into portals of entry for the fungus.
  • Clean your nail trimmer before using it.
  • Do not tear or rip your toenails on purpose.
  • If you have diabetes, follow all foot care recommendations from your healthcare provider.
  • Keep your feet dry. Make sure to fully dry your feet after a shower.
  • Soak toenails in warm water before cutting them. Or you can cut your nails after a shower or bath.
  • Trim toenails straight across .
  • Wear shoes that fit correctly. They should not be too loose or tight around the toes.

Safe And Effective Treatments For Nail Fungus Infections For The Elderly

White Toenail Fungus

The elderly have poorer response to onychomycosis therapies compared to other age groups. Oral anti-fungal medicines have a high rate of success in curing nail fungus infections, but that rate reduces in older people. This may be because the medications they are taking for other conditions are rendering the anti-fungal treatments ineffective.

It could also be the other way around: the effectiveness of the medicines they take for their other health problems can be reduced, and this makes it more dangerous. This is why oral medicines for nail fungus infections are usually not prescribed to older patients.

It is crucial that the toenail fungus treatments for the elderly are not just effective, but completely safe as well. It could be oral treatments, but these should have been prescribed by a qualified physician.

Other treatments that have lesser risks than oral medications include topical ointments, surgery, essential oils and other alternatives, and laser therapy. Medicated nail lacquers are also an option for patients with mild cases of nail fungal infection or superficial white onychomycosis. These treatments have varying effectiveness, depending on the condition of the nail fungus infection.

Although some people recommend essential oils for treating nail fungi, essential oils alone have poor success rate. With few cases of exceptions, essential oils are said to be safe for most people, including the elderly.

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Wear Clean Socks And Protect Your Feet

If you exercise regularly or find yourself sweating a great deal while wearing closed shoes, its best to wear sweat-absorbing socks and switch to a pair of breathable shoes.

Fungus thrives in dark and humid conditions so sweaty socks are the ideal habitat for it to grow.

Make sure to wash them regularly!

Keep your feet fresh and barefoot when youre inside although make sure to cover up and keep them protected when youre outside.

Some places are particularly notorious for picking up toenail fungus as well as other foot infections like plantar warts so be sure to protect your feet with specialist socks or shoes when in areas such as pools and locker rooms.

Best Ways To Treat A Nail Fungus

Nail fungus can cause thick, discolored nails, and, for some patients, it can even be painful. An Internet search will bring up plenty of ways to treat the condition, but which ones are best? Dermatologist Dr. Christopher Hull discusses what nail fungus actually is, why its so hard to get rid of, and which treatments work best.

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What Causes A Nail Fungal Infection

The infection is usually caused by exposure to a fungus. The fungus grows in wet, dark conditions. The fungus grows when your feet are in warm, sweaty environment . It enters your nail through a crack in the nail.

Nail fungal infections happen at any age. They are more common in adults older than 60 years of age. They are common in people who have diabetes or circulation problems. They also are common in people with a weakened immune system. Men are more likely than women to get fungal nail infections.

Can I Wear Nail Polish If I Have Toenail Fungus

How do you get toenail fungus Is it contagious

You may feel tempted to cover up a discolored toenail with nail polish. If you are using a topical antifungal, you probably should not use polish. Some providers may tell you not to wear it in any case. Polish traps in moisture from the nailbed . Because fungi thrive in moist environments, wearing nail polish may make a fungal infection worse. However, the nail continues to grow with or without polish.

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Fungal Nail Infection Treatment

See your doctor if you think you have nail fungus. It can be tough to get rid of, and youâre more likely to have success with a prescription. Treatments include:

  • Oral antifungals. The doctor may give you a pill to kill fungus in your whole body. This is usually the best way to get rid of a nail infection. Treatment may last 2 months for an infection in your fingernails, or 3 months if itâs in your toenails.
  • Topical antifungals. You rub or brush these medicines onto your nails. They may work for a mild infection, but they canât get deep enough into the nail to cure a more serious one. You might use a topical treatment in combination with a pill.
  • Surgery. If other treatments donât work, the doctor may need to remove your nail entirely and let a healthy one grow back in its place. The new nail could also get infected.
  • Laser or photodynamic therapy. Doctors are studying newer treatments that use special light to try to kill the fungus.

Causes Of Nail Fungus

The most common types of fungus that causes nail infections are called dermatophytes. They do not require sunlight to survive thereby making the nail bed an ideal place for them to live where they can hide and be safe.

These dermatophytes enter the skin through tiny cuts or small separations between the nail and nail bed. Once they have entered, the fungi grow as the nail provides a suitable warm and moist environment for them to thrive.

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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.

What Causes Toenail Fungus

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It is very unlikely that a few exposures to an unclean environment will cause a fungal infection. Walking barefoot once or twice in a public shower will not generally spread the infection. Similarly, it is also unlikely that a single visit to a pedicurist will cause the infection. Lengthy exposure to a contaminated environment is often required in order to contract the fungal infection although individuals may be more susceptible to fungal infections than others.

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S To Give Yourself A Pedicure With Toenail Fungus

  • Fill your sterilized foot bath basin with warm filtered water to ankle height.
  • Place a thick layer of paper towels underneath a sterile basin to catch excess contaminated water. Mix a few cups of dead sea salt with several drops of your favorite antifungal, antibacterial essential oils, soak your feet for up to 30 minutes.
  • Dry your feet with paper towels, rubbing cotton pads in between your toes. Apply a small amount of non-scented foot cream onto your feet, then your feet on paper towels or put on your disposable flip-flops.
  • Lay out your instruments on a paper towel and start by clipping your nails as short as it is comfortable. Do not cut extremely brittle, split nailsallow your podiatrist to take care of infected nail fragments. Place the clippers on a paper towel for used items.
  • Using a plastic cuticle pusher, gently push back your cuticles until they separate from the nail bed. Avoid pushing cuticles on deeply infected nails. Immediately dispose of the cuticle pusher.
  • Remove exposed cuticle using your cuticle clippers. Afterward, set aside the clippers on the paper towel for used items.
  • If you decide to polish your nails, apply only one coat to allow the nail bed to heal.
  • Once your polish has dried, sufficiently sterilize your nail clippers and cuticle clippers. Place your tools in a disposable plastic container or a bowl not used for cooking. Fill the bowl with high grade Isopropyl Alcohol. Let the tools soak for 5 minutes.

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