How Can You Care For Yourself At Home
- Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you have any problems with your medicine.
- If your doctor gave you a cream or liquid to put on your nail, use it exactly as directed.
- Wash your hands and feet often, and wash your hands after touching your feet.
- Keep your nails clean and dry. Dry your feet completely after you bathe and before you put on shoes and socks.
- Keep your nails trimmed.
- Change socks often. Wear dry socks that absorb moisture.
- Don’t go barefoot in public places.
- Use a spray or powder that fights fungus on your feet and in your shoes.
- Don’t pick at the skin around your nails.
- Don’t use nail polish or fake nails on your nails.
- Don’t share personal things, such as towels and nail clippers.
Tips For Prevention Of Fungal Nails
Nail fungus causes only 50% of abnormal-appearing nails. It can be hard to tell the difference between the different causes of discolored nails . Onychomycosis is often not treated. Reasons to receive treatment include
No one knows where a specific person catches the fungus, as it is everywhere. However, since the fungus does thrive in warm moist areas , there are certain areas one should avoid or use with caution. Shower floors, locker rooms, and swimming pools are suspected of being sources of the fungus, although there are no studies proving this fact. Nail polish and acrylic nails also make the nail less “breathable” and make the nail more susceptible to fungal infection. Fungi are everywhere — in the air, the dust, and the soil. Hygienic measures such as spraying socks and footgear sound sensible, and perhaps these measures can even help a little bit. However, avoiding tight, nonbreathing shoes or steering clear of athletic facility floors may very well be the best prevention available. Daily washing of the feet and drying between the toes can help to prevent nail fungus. The fungi carried on the coats of pets, like cats and dogs, don’t often cause nail fungus. Wearing white socks does not help.
Who Should Be Treated For Fungal Nails
Medical treatment of onychomycosis is suggested in patients who are experiencing pain and discomfort due to the nail changes. Patients with higher risk factors for infections such as diabetes and a previous history of cellulitis near the affected nails may also benefit from treatment. Poor cosmetic appearance is another reason for medical treatment.
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Wear Comfortable Shoes And Socks
Shoes and socks that are too tight can crowd your toes. This is considered to be a leading cause of ingrown toenails. To help prevent an ingrown toenail from developing or worsening, wear shoes and socks or hosiery that fit but still leave ample space in the toe bed. During the healing process, avoid shoes or wear sandals as much as possible to limit pressure on your toenails.
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.
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Natural Ways To Deal With Nail Fungus
Fight the funk.
This article was written by Hallie Levine and provided by our partners at Prevention.
That pedicure you shelled out big bucks for may have left you with an unwelcome gift: onychomycosis, otherwise known as nail fungus. Or maybe its a souvenir from the shared showers at your gym or your barefoot walks around the public pool. Although it starts innocuously enough, as a white or yellow spot underneath your finger or toenail, your nail can start to thicken and even crumble as the fungus penetrates deeper and deeper. Ick. And fungus is more likely to appear and persist in your toenails because your tootsies are often confined in the warm, moist environment of your shoes, where these little buggers can thrive.
If you see a dermatologist, youll most likely get a prescription for an antifungal oral medication such as Lamisil or Sporanox, which tend to be expensive, dont always work, and carry side effects ranging from skin rashes to potentially toxic liver damage. Thats not pleasant, which is why so many people look for a drug-free alternative, says Joe Graedon, a pharmacologist at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at Chapel Hill and author of The Peoples Pharmacy. There are newer topical treatments, such as Kerydin, but they also require a prescription and can take up to a year to work. Here are some of Graedons top drug-free remedies for toenail fungus.
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Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Nail Fungus
Although some people may refer to these alternative treatments as quack science, there appears to be a little more to these homemade remedies since many individuals have used them to cure their conditions. However, more research still needs to be conducted on the success rate of home remedies for nail fungus.
Some common and supposedly effective alternative treatments include:
According to Dr. Josh Axe of the Exodus Health Center, apple cidar vinegar not only helps to soothe sunburns, balance pH in the body, manage blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss, its also an ingredient that contains anti-fungal properties. As such, many sufferers of fungal nail infection have now turned to this healthy food to cure their conditions.
The acidic properties of apple cidar vinegar prevent nail fungus from spreading. At the same time, apple cidar vinegar helps to get rid of dead skin cells while killing bacteria and fungi.
Simply mix it with water in equal parts then soak the infected nails for up to 30 minutes in the solution. Repeat this process daily and pat dry the infected nails after soaking.
Another study conducted by Russian researchers showed that a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide had been instrumental in killing off fungus at the radioactive Chernobyl site.
For this remedy, one should simply apply lemon juice on the infected nail for about 30 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
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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
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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The Structure Of The Fungus
The structure of the fungus plays a very crucial role in making it a strong micro-organism. The fungus cells have a very thick cell wall, and destroying it is very difficult.
Fungal cell wall has one of the strongest biochemical compounds, that is chitin. It is a polysaccharide. It is one of the hardest sugars. Breaking it is not very easy.
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How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Nail Fungus
To find out if a patient has nail fungus, a dermatologist examines your nails and nearby skin. Its important to check the skin because the fungus can spread. You may already have a skin infection caused by fungus like athletes foot.
To get rid of the infection, you will need to treat all infected areas.
Before giving you the diagnosis, your dermatologist may also take some samples. Collecting a bit of debris from beneath a nail, trimming off part your nail, or scraping off a bit of skin can be very helpful. In a lab, these samples can be examined under a microscope to find out whats causing the problem.
Are you hiding an infected nail with nail polish?
Be sure to ask your dermatologist if you can wear nail polish while treating nail fungus.
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Dont Fear Asking For Help
Trimming your toenails is a fundamental part of normal hygiene, but complications such as fungal infections can make the task much more difficult. This doesnt even factor in dangers such as diabetes, infections risks, and more.
If you ever have questions about how to best trim your toenailsfungal or notwe are more than happy to offer advice and help. We can also help you take care of fungal infections, ingrown nails, and other problems at the source to avoid further problems down the road.
Contact either of our offices to connect with our staff:
- Roselle Park 687-5757
Or, if you would like, fill out our online form to contact us electronically.
Why Trust Verywell Health
As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.
Additional reporting for this story by Jennifer Nied
For over 10 years, Jennifer Nied has reviewed products, interviewed experts, scrutinized ingredients, and pored over research studies and claims, to help readers like you understand what works for your specific conditions. Every product in this piece was selected taking into account recommendations from doctors, published research, and real customer reviews.
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Best Soak: Purely Northwest Tea Tree Oil Foot & Body Soak
Relaxes muscles with Epsom and sea salts
Essential oils may be potential allergens
If youre looking for an all-natural route to treat toenail fungus, then this foot soak could be for you. Not only is a foot soak a relaxing way to end your day, but the ingredients used in Purely Northwests soak include Epsom salt, sea salt, tea tree oil, and other oils. These ingredients soothe the skin while addressing foot and toenail fungus.
The combined ingredients work to dry out the fungus to prevent it from spreading. Benefits of the soak also include healing cracked feet and soothing aches.
This US-made product has no dyes or synthetic fragrances, making it a great all-natural solution. But results, depending on severity, might take longer to show when using the soak over prescription or over-the-counter treatments.
Active Ingredients: Epsom salt, Dead Sea salt, MSM, and Therapeutic-grade essential oils | Dose: Add 1.5 tablespoons of foot soak mix for every gallon of water. Mix with hands until the salt dissolved. Add additional salts for a more stronger or aromatic foot bath. Soak your feet for About 15-20 minutes. | Uses: Treats fungus all over feet eliminates food odor and aches
Great for athletes and gym goers
Cleanses and deodorizes
Also treats acne, candida, and rashes
Fragrant oils may be overwhelming
Tea tree and lavender sooth skin
Money back guarantee
Results can take several weeks
Only for toe and fingernail fungus
What Are Brittle Toenails
When your toenails look cracked, dried up, and they peel at the edges, then these are considered brittle, which is a common affliction, especially in women and the elderly.
As we grow older, our body struggles to produce and maintain the natural proteins that keep our bodies looking and feeling healthy.
However, just like your skin, hair, teeth, and eyes can alert you of any anomalies in your body, brittle toenails can be a sign that says much more about you and your habits than age alone.
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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.
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 Do Dermatologists Treat A Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment usually begins with your dermatologist trimming your infected nail, cutting back each infected nail to the place where it attaches to your finger or toe. Your dermatologist may also scrape away debris under the nail. This helps get rid of some fungus.
To completely get rid of the infection, most people also need one or more of the following treatments:
Medicine you apply to the nail: If you have a mild infection, a medicine that you apply to your nails may get rid of the infection. This treatment helps keep new fungus out while the nails grow. Fingernails typically grow out in four to six months. Toenails take longer, usually takes 12 to 18 months.
Probably the most difficult part of this treatment is remembering to use it as often as prescribed. Some treatments must be applied every day. Others you apply once a week. To get the best results, its essential that you apply these medicines exactly as directed.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the following medicines that you apply to the nail to treat nail fungus:
Side effects from these medicines are generally mild. Possible side effects include redness and swelling, an ingrown toenail, and stinging or burning when you apply the medicine. In clinical trials, none of these side effects caused patients to stop using the treatment.
The FDA has approved the following systemic medicines to treat nail fungus:
S To Give Yourself A Pedicure With Toenail Fungus
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