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.
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.
How To Prevent Both Foot And Toenail Fungus
While toenail fungus and foot fungus arent the same condition, the following tips can help you prevent both, says Sundling:
- Practice good hygiene, such as keeping your feet clean.
- Alternate your shoes during the week. Your feet sweat all day long. Alternating your shoes allows them to dry out, so the fungus cant survive.
- Wear moisture-wicking socks that help dry out shoes and kill fungus. You can find these at running stores and athletic stores. If your socks are exceptionally sweaty, changing them more than once per day can help.
- Wear shoes in public places like locker rooms, pools, and gyms to limit exposure to fungus.
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/6toenail Infection Is A Contagious Disease
Toenail fungus also known as onychomycosis is a common infection of the toenail. This contagious disease can be very painful and can even spread to other parts of the body, if not treated immediately.
The most common symptom of the toenail infection is a white, brown or yellow discoloration of one or more toenails. It may spread and even cause the nails to thicken and crack.
Traditionally, anti-fungal treatments such as terbinafine or fluconazole are used to cure toenail fungus, but these treatments have some serious side effects like upset stomach, dizziness, and jaundice. Most people opt for home remedies to cure this disease.
You can also try these popular home remedies, if your toenail is troubling you.
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 Prevent Toenail Fungus
Because fungi are everywhere , they can be present months before they find opportunities to strike and before signs of infection appear. By following certain precautions, including proper hygiene and regular inspection of the feet and toes, chances of the problem occurring can be significantly reduced.
- Regularly clean and dry feet to resist disease. Follow a strict regimen of washing the feet with soap and water.
- Change socks and hosiery daily and change out shoes on a regular basis.
- Clip toenails straight across so the nail doesnt extend beyond the tip of your finger or toenails.
- Wear socks that are made of synthetic fiber to wick away moisture. Cotton and wool socks dont wick away moisture as fast as synthetic fiber does. This can be helpful in denying a hospitable environment for the fungi to grow in.
Nail Anatomy And Onychomycosis Infection
Figure 1 shows the composition of the nail, including the nail plate , nail bed and nail matrix.
Figure 1: Nail anatomy and physiology
The nail plate and nail bed are joined by layers of hard, translucent, keratinised cells. The nail bed and nail matrix are vascular components of the nail, with nail cells located within the nail matrix where the nail plate is formed. The thickness of the nail plate determines the length of the matrix
- Apply cosmetic nail varnishes or artificial nails
- Walk without footwear in public areas
- Cut nails too short.
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How To Get Rid Of Toenail Fungus Naturally And Fast At Home
Toenail fungus, aka onychomycosis, is a very popular problem. The symptoms of toenail fungus include swelling, inflammation, yellowing, crumbling and thickening of the nail. This condition is often not painful, if the infection does not spread.
In fact, the fungus tends to thrive under some certain conditions, like a weakened immune system, skins unbalanced pH level, continuous exposure to a moist environment containing poor hygiene, sweaty shoes and socks, and diabetes.
When left untreated, this condition could result in splitting, cracking and even whole loss of toenails. However, luckily, there are some ways on how to get rid of toenail fungus naturally and fast without too much cost. The following at-home remedies resorting natural ingredients available in any local grocery store. Take a look from VKool.com!
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Treatment For Yellow Toenails
If you find you have a case of yellow toenails and youre not sure you need to go to the doctor just yet, there are a few things you can do at home to try to eliminate the problem.
Firstly, stop using any nail polish or pedicure products. You want your toes to remain clean and untouched as you monitor them for changes.
Keep your toes clean and dry and give the nails minimal care, with short cuts to the nail, making sure youre always using clean nail clippers.
Wear clean, breathable socks every day. Avoid ill-fitting shoes. If you sweat in your shoes a lot, air them out between wears.
If you do think you need to go to the doctor for your yellow toenails, they might prescribe you an antifungal medication , which is often a cream or medicated polish that you apply to your nails/toes regularly. Antibiotics are also sometimes prescribed.
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Black Under Toenail Symptoms:
The most common symptom of black toenail fungus is that initially, toenail fungus develops.
- After toenail fungus develops, a thicker toenail usually takes up more room in the sock and shoe.
- As this happens, the toenail can catch on her shoes or socks and start to rip away from the skin.
- This gradually forms debris and dirt that forms under the tip of the nail. This then forms a callus in the nail that starts to rub the way more and more.
- Eventually, the toenail starts to turn black when small little blood vessels called capillaries are ripped away from the toenail.
- This creates bleeding between the toenail and the skin.
- As this blood starts to dry, it quickly turns black and forms a scab between the toenail and the skin.
- As this gets thicker, it forms thick black toenail fungus.
- The toenail eventually can turn completely back as it dies.
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What Is A Fungal Nail Infection
Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nail Infections
Half of all nail disorders are caused by onychomycosis, and it is the most common nail disease in adults. Toenails are much more likely to be infected than fingernails. The incidence of onychomycosis has been increasing and is associated with diabetes, a suppressed immune system, and increasing age. Adults, especially the elderly, are more likely to have onychomycosis than children.
Fungal nail infection is divided into subtypes. The main subtypes of onychomycosis are as follows:
- Distal lateral subungual onychomycosis
- White superficial onychomycosis
- Endonyx onychomycosis
- Candidal onychomycosis
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Fungal Nail Infection Treatments
Early treatment of fungal nail infections may prevent damage to or loss of the nail and treatment at any stage may reduce discomfort and improve the nails appearance. However, fungal nail infections can be difficult to treat, and can recur following successful treatment.
Also, because nails grow slowly, it can take up to a year for the appearance of the nail to return to normal, even if treatment is successful. To check if your fungal infection has been successfully treated, your doctor may make a small scratch on the normal-looking new nail growing from the nail bed. As your nail grows, the appearance of the new nail growing behind the scratch is monitored. If the nail behind the scratch remains normal-looking, the infection has been treated and no further treatment is needed the abnormal nail in front of the scratch just needs to grow out.
Fingernail infections can generally be cured more quickly and effectively than toenail infections.
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Essential Oils And Ozonized Oils
Several essential oils have been shown to be an effective toenail fungus treatment. “Research by our group and others has shown that essential oils may be cheap, efficient alternatives that have minimal side effects,”Professor Lígia Salgueiro and Professor Eugénia Pinto say in a news release. Lavender oil “shows wide-spectrum anti-fungal activity and is highly potent.” Tea tree oil also has anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health cites some small-scale clinical studies suggesting that tea tree oil might be an effective home remedy. Plus, these are the best essential odors for combating foot odor. Oils such as olive oil and sunflower oil contain ozone gas. A 2011 study published in the Brazilian Journal of Microbiology showed that small doses of this kind of ozone, applied over a short period, can eliminate fungus. A different study, conducted at the National Center for Scientific Research, Cuba, found that sunflower oil was more effective than the prescription drug Xolegel .
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See A Dermatologist To Pinpoint The Problem
Foot fungus wont just go away on its own, Dr. Ng says. If you think you have foot or toenail fungus, see your dermatologist, she says. There are several tests that your dermatologist can perform to identify exactly whats going on.
Its important to be aware that there are other diseases which can cause nail changes, she says. For example, we do see things like squamous cell skin cancers in the nail beds and even melanomas, which have a brownish or blackish discoloration.
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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The Podiatrist’s Take On Home Remedies
While home remedies are unlikely to cause any harm in themselves, Dr. Hinkes urges caution when relying on them when looking for how to get rid of toenail fungus. “Resorting to folk remedies can be dangerous because it could keep the patient from getting a legitimate diagnosis and treatment,” he says. “Now in some people, this could be a critical thing, because it can be contagiousyou can pass it to other people and you can pass it to other parts of your body. So it’s really not something you want to fool with.” Dr. Hinkes’ advice is clear: Visit a foot care specialist. This could be a podiatrist, but foot care nurses also offer an excellent and affordable service as an alternative. And if neither of those is available, try a dermatologist. Left untreated, this condition won’t go away on its own and can cause serious pain, deformity, and even lead to further complications. Podiatrists recommend seeking expert helpyou’re better safe than sorry. If you’re desperate, though, try these DIY foot and toenail fungus treatments.
And When You Start Taking This Amazing Solution In A Short Time
- Youll completely eliminate the dangerous toenail fungus that affects millions without side effects… without expensive medical bills… and without the torture that most people go through to see progress right away!
- You wont have to worry about doctors visits or other embarrassing run-ins with people wholl judge you for your unsightly nails.
- And you will see and feel the difference in your toenails for the rest of your life.
Just imagine when you wake up, look down at your toes to see the fungus is GONE… knowing you and your loved ones are safe from the same humiliating fungal diseases that have plagued you and millions of others like you…
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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.
Signs And Symptoms Of Foot Fungus
Itchy skin is an early sign of foot fungus, or scaly, peeling skin, or tiny blisters on the skin that will pop at times, says Sundling. The skin tends to break out in the shape of a moccasin, or the area of the foot that a moccasin would cover. You dont see foot fungus on the top of the foot very often. Its common to get a fungal infection between the toes as well, she adds.
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Home Remedies For Nail Fungus
Treating nail fungus doesnt have to mean relying on a doctors prescription. Instead, patients can take control of their health with these easy home remedies for toenail fungus.
This pantry staple can help cure nail fungus and is also a wonderful home remedy for foot rot when applied topically or taken internally.
Apple Cider Vinegar Antifungal Recipe
- 1 part apple cider vinegar
- 1 part Epsom salts
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Fungal Toenails Yellowed Or Deformed Toenails
The most common cause of yellowed, thick and /or deformed toenails is a fungal infection of the toenail. The fungus that infects the nail, most commonly, is the same fungus that causes athletes foot. It tends to be slowly progressive, damaging the nail to a greater and greater degree over time. The infection usually starts at the tip of the nail and works its way back. It usually is not painful and often not noticed until it has gotten well established. A single toenail or any number of nails can be affected. It can also occur on just one foot. Over time, the nail becomes thickened, crumbly, and distorted in appearance. Sweaty feet contribute to the initial infection process and contribute to its spread. The fungus prefers an environment that is moist, dark, and warm, which is why it affects the toenails much more often than fingernails. It does not spread through the blood stream. The infection limits itself to the nails and skin. It is often found in association with areas of dry scaly skin on the bottom of the foot or between the toes. The dry scaling skin is frequently found to be chronic athletes foot. It is not highly contagious, and family members are almost as likely to contract it from some other source as they are from the family member who has the infection. Keeping common showering areas clean is recommended, and sharing shoes should be avoided.
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