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:
When To Refer To Podiatry
Before initiating topical or oral therapy, patients should ideally be referred to a podiatrist for nail trimming and debridement. This assists with removing as much fungus as possible and improves topical drug penetration. Debridement alone cannot be recommended for the treatment of OM patients using a combination of debridement and topical nail lacquer have shown a significant improvement in mycological cure compared with debridement only. Patients with nail trauma owing to footwear, dystrophic toenails affecting other toes or who describe discomfort when walking owing to thickened toenails should also be referred.
When there is treatment failure with topical, oral and combination therapies, a podiatrist may be able to carry out a chemical or surgical nail avulsion .
If there is doubt over the original diagnosis, or where no improvement has been seen with treatment, pharmacists should refer patients to a podiatrist or their GP.
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RB provided financial support in the production of this content.
The authors were paid by The Pharmaceutical Journal to write this article and full editorial control was maintained by the journal at all times.
Treatment Options For Fungal Nail
Treatment options, some of which can be prescribed by your GP and the others found at your local pharmacy, include:
Antifungal nail creams or paints
These are applied directly to the nail over several months and are most effective when used at the early stages of the infection. They aren’t generally considered to be as effective as tablets because it can be difficult for the product to reach the deep layers of the nail. Some people choose them over tablets because side effects are less common. These are available over the counter.
A paste is applied to soften the infected area. This is then covered with a plaster for 24 hours. The next day, the paste is washed off and the softened nail gently scraped away.
This process has to be repeated every day for two to three weeks. When no more of the infected nail can be removed, an antifungal paint is applied to prevent re-infection as the nail grows over the next few months. These kits are available from your pharmacist.
These are only available on prescription and need to be taken for several months, before the infection has completely cleared up. Some tablets are unsuitable for people taking certain medicines, and some people may experience side effects. Always see your doctor or pharmacist for advice about medicines.
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How Can It Be Treated
Treating a fungal nail can be a lengthy process it can take several months to clear. This is largely due to the time it takes for your toenail to grow.
You’ll only see a clear improvement when the damaged nail has grown out. It can take six months to a year after the treatment has finished before the nail looks normal again.
Speak to your pharmacist for advice on treating fungal nail infections. See your GP if over the counter treatment hasnt worked or if the infection is severe or has spread to other nails. Make sure you see your GP or a foot specialist if you have diabetes and develop a fungal nail infection, as people with diabetes are at an increased risk of foot problems.
Know Not To Be Afraid
Surgery can be nerve-wracking and scary. Nobody likes pain, hospitals, scalpels, cuts, and anesthesia. The whole idea can be very unpleasanteven reading about it can turn the stomach!
But, it is very important to remember that thousands of people have experienced nail removal and have lived to tell about it! While there may be some discomfort and pain following the procedure, if a qualified doctor or other medical professional has concluded this is the best treatment for your specific problem, let that give all the comfort it should. We are very blessed to live in a world where so many health problems can be easily corrected!
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Toenail Fungus: Causes And Risk Factors
Toenail fungus is a fungal infection in the toenail. It happens when a fungus anything from mold to yeast to other types of fungus gets in the nail bed from a cut or break in the nail or repetitive trauma to the nail, and penetrates the nail itself, says Dr. Sundling. The nail then continues to grow with the fungus. Once a nail plate is infected with fungus, it will never not be infected, and you must wait to see how it grows out and whether the new nail growing behind it is healthy. The new nail rarely grows in healthy without treatment, says Sundling.
Toenail fungus is very common 14 percent of people have it in North America, according to an article published in the journal PLoS Pathogens and its more common the older you get, adds Sundling. Wearing shoes that are too small can damage the nail and make it more vulnerable to fungus, as can having a fungal infection on the skin of the foot and not treating it, which could expose the nail to fungus. You may be more at risk to toenail fungus if you have diabetes, or a weaker immune system.
Is It Possible To Prevent The Recurrence Of Nail Fungus
Tinea pedis, also known as athlete’s foot or foot fungus, can cause recurrence of fungal nails. Therefore, it is important to manage this condition. One can apply over-the-counter antifungal medicines such as clotrimazole or terbinafine cream as directed to affected skin. Keeping footwear and socks clean can be helpful. You can also use portable UV light sanitizers to disinfect shoes.
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Remedies To Fight Toenail Fungus At Home
Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is perhaps one of the most common nail disorders. It is a fungal infection that penetrates through chinks in your toenail, cuts in the surrounding skin, or the separation between the nail and the toe, and affects the material below the toenail.
The fungus tends to thrive in certain conditions, such as abnormal body pH, a weakened immune system, continuous exposure to a moist environment including sweaty shoes and socks, poor hygiene, and diabetes.
As embarrassing as this condition may be, simply camouflaging your unsightly toenail, such as painting your nails, without tending to it properly would do you more harm than good. If the infection goes untreated long enough, it could spread to the adjoining skin, to the other toenails, and even perhaps to your fingernails.
How Can One Get Rid Of Toenail Fungus
Toenail Fungus can be treated in multiple ways.
- 1. Over the Counter Treatments
Over the counter gets, creams, soaks, sprays, and oral medicines can work best when your toenail fungus is mild and has just begun.
You may use products containing Undecylenic Acid, Tolnaftate, Clotrimazole, Terbinafine, or Tea Tree Oil.
- 2. Essential Oils
Milder Toenail Fungus can be treated with the application of diluted essential oils. Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lavender, Cinnamon , Lemon or Lemon Grass Essential Oils can be used for topical treatment of Toenail Fungus.
- 3. Home Remedies
Some home remedies can be very effective in controlling the infection. These remedies can prevent the fungi from entering the tissue and spreading to the bloodstream.
Garlic, onion, ginger and lemon are the most common ingredients used in the treatment of toenail fungus.
- 4. Diet & Exercise
Toenail Fungus has a lot to do with your immune system or your bodys natural defense mechanism.
If you eat healthy foods and exercise well, there are chances your immunity raises and fights the fungi.
Science explains how our bodys soldiers can destroy the thriving fungi within days if we have the right amount of them.
- 5. Nail Hygiene
Maintaining hygiene is very important. As fungi can grow and multiply easily in moist and humid environments, you have to take care your toenails excessively.
Trimming and shaping the toenails can reduce chances of fungi entering your skin and prevents spread of infection.
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Can Thick Toenails Cause Complications
Untreated toenail infections can cause some complications. Over time, the infection can get worse, and symptoms may become more severe. Toenails can thicken to the point that they cause discomfort when you try to wear shoes or even make it more difficult to walk.
If you have pre-existing medical conditions, treatment is vital so the fungus doesnt contribute to secondary infections or complications.
When Should I Call The Doctor
In rare cases, toenail fungus can cause an infection called cellulitis. Without prompt treatment, cellulitis may pose a serious danger to your health.
You should seek treatment guidance from a trusted healthcare provider if you have:
- Circulation problems.
- Redness, pain or pus near the toenail.
- Weakened immune system.
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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.
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 1,477,639 times.
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Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nails
Fungal infection of the nails sometimes makes the condition sound contagious or related to poor hygiene. In fact, up to 10% of all adults in Western countries have fungal infection of the nails. This percentage increases to 20% of adults who are age 60 or older. Toenail fungus is much more common than fingernail fungus.
In reality, abnormal-looking nails may be caused by a number of conditions including, but not limited to, fungal infection. There are many other reasons why your nails may look different.
Is It Fungus Or Melanoma
Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that can develop on the nail bed. It has a dark brown or black color and can be mistaken for toenail fungus or another toenail problem like a bruise. Melanoma is much less common than toenail fungus, but it can be life-threatening if not caught early.
Both toenail fungus and melanoma can appear as a dark stripe on the toenail and may increase in size over time. The toenail can become split and damaged in both conditions.
Toenail fungus is more likely to cause thickening of the toenail and a buildup of material underneath it. Melanoma causes the skin of the nailbed to change color, which does not happen with toenail fungus, but it can be difficult to see.
Because melanoma can be very aggressive, its important to have your doctor examine a darkened toenail. Your doctor can confirm the diagnosis of toenail fungus by looking at clippings under a microscope and of melanoma by taking a biopsy.
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Are There Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus
The Internet is filled with anecdotal information on how to cure toenail fungus using home remedies. Vinegar is a commonly recommended home remedy. Some people apply various oils such as tea tree oil, coconut oil, essential oils, and oil of cedar leaf to their nails as well. The effectiveness of these home remedies is highly doubtful. Application of household bleach and hydrogen peroxide is also not recommended due to lack of evidence that these treatments work. These agents can also cause unwanted skin irritation. Thickened nails that have been affected by fungus can be difficult to trim. Using topical urea cream will soften the nail and make it easier to trim. These creams do not require a prescription.
Cure Toenail Pain From Fungus Infection
Know The Symptoms And Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait to Seek Effective Treatment
A painful, thick, yellow, green, brown or black toenail means you could have a toenail fungus infection. If you have a toenail fungal infection it won’t go away on its own. You can’t get rid of it with home remedies or over the counter topical treatments. Learn why, and how to cure it by reading more.
Toenail fungus is common and it can develop when dry, brittle nails develop cracks that allow fungus to enter the nail unit. A toenail fungus infection most often occurs when excessive moisture gets under your toenail and is trapped by your socks and shoes, allowing fungus to grow and thrive. Nail fungus can also be caused by yeast and mold.
Left untreated toenail fungus can become a foot fungus, spreading from your toenail, to the skin in between your toes, your arch and the heel of your foot.
Scratching it or picking at it can also spread it to your fingers, and then to other parts of your body. You can also spread it to other people if you are sharing a shower or tub.
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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.
Take Care Of Your Toes
Use soap and water to wash your feet, and dry well, including between toes. Trim your toenails — straight across — to keep them shorter than the end of your toe. Make sure the tools you use are clean, too. Wash clippers and files with soap and water, then wipe with rubbing alcohol. You might be tempted to cover up discolored nails with polish, but don’t. Your nail bed can’t “breathe,” which keeps fungus from going away.
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Treating Toenail Fungus Medically