What Are The Causes Of Toenail Fungus Infections
Toenail fungal infections are caused by different microscopic organisms such as fungi. The most common of these organisms are dermatophytes. However, this type of infection may also be caused by yeasts and molds. The fungus may enter the body through cuts and cracks on the skin underneath the nail. Fungi thrive in a warm and moist environment which makes the confines of your closed-toe shoes the perfect environment to spread.
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How Do You Get Toenail Fungus
Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments. Toenail fungus can be caused by simply wearing socks and shoes, which insulate your toes. That keeps them nice and toasty but also creates that perfect environment for fungi to overpopulate.
But its not just toenail fungus that can develop in this way. Any part of your body that is warm and moist for extended periods of time can develop a topical fungal infection.
Jock itch , athletes foot , toenail fungus all fall under the same classification of fungal infections.
This means that not only can they all develop from that warm, moist environment in which fungi flourish, but they are also highly contagious.
A fungal infection on one part of your body can spread to another. For example, athletes foot can spread to your toenails and vice versa. Toenail fungus in one nail can also spread to other nails.
And that towel you used after showering to dry your feet that has athletes foot or toenail fungus, can be spread to other parts of your body that youve wiped with it.
Because fungal infections spread so easily, you can catch a fungal infection from other people. Its unlikely you will catch toenail fungus directly from another persons infected toenails.
But if you are not wearing rubber flip flops in the gym shower or you are sharing towels or wearing someone elses shoes, and that person has a fungal infection, you can easily get it and it can spread to your toenails.
How Effective Are Tablets In Treating Nail Fungus
Tablets for the treatment of nail fungus have been tested in several studies. All participants had an infection on their toenails caused by a skin fungus. Overall, the study results showed that tablets are considerably more effective than nail polishes or creams.
One year after a three-month treatment with terbinafine:
- About 17 out of 100 people who didnt have this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
- About 76 out of 100 people who had this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
In other words, the treatment with terbinafine got rid of the fungal infection in about 59 out of 100 people.
Itraconazole also proved to be effective. After one year,
- 7 out of 100 people who didnt have this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
- About 43 out of 100 people who had this treatment no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
In other words, the treatment with itraconazole got rid of the fungal infection in about 36 out of 100 people.
Some studies directly compared itraconazole and terbinafine with each other. They confirm that terbinafine is somewhat more effective than itraconazole.
Treatment with breaks is thought to be about as effective as continuous treatment. But that has only been looked into in a few studies.
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Treatment Of Nail Fungal Infection At Different Stages
Treatment of onychomycosis at the first stage is crucial as the infection hasnt exacerbated yet and therefore is easier to heal. Topical treatments, such as anti-fungal creams and gels or medicated nail polish are the most commonly used at this stage. However, it is ideal to use a topically-applied medication that not only can kill the fungus, but can penetrate the nail as well.
Most topical treatments dont work because they cant penetrate the nail to get to the fungi. It is therefore recommended for sufferers to use a topical medication that can penetrate the nail and kill the fungus. A solution with 10% undecylenic acid, which can effectively get rid of the infection, and a penetrating agent , is recommended.
For moderate nail fungus infection, such topical solutions can still work. However, many sufferers use that in conjunction with oral medicines. Many anti-fungal pills in the market can treat fungal nail infection, though it is still suggested to use such medicines along with topical solutions .
Unfortunately, oral medicines are also more likely to cause side effects to patients. They are also not recommended for the elderly, pregnant women, and those who have other medical conditions or ailments.
But again, fungi can come back, even without the nail itself. This is why its recommended for patients to use topical anti-fungal ointment to the nail bed and surrounding skin while waiting for the nail to grow back. Otherwise, the fungi will just return.
Nail Fungus And Nail Psoriasis Differences
There are a few key differences between the two conditions. Nail fungus has a few symptoms that generally dont occur in nail psoriasis. These include:
- Debris under the nail that can look dark in color2,4
- Brittle nails that are more likely to split2,4
- A mild, foul-smelling odor2
Nail psoriasis also has a few unique symptoms, that dont usually occur in fungal infections. These include:
- Deformed nail shape3
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An Option For Treatment
Emtrix®* antifungal treatment is an easy-to-use liquid solution that restores your nails to normal without filing. Simply apply a thin layer to the affected nail once a day with a silicone-tipped applicator to prevent waste. The combination of the two active ingredients in Emtrix®, urea and lactic acid, effectively treats fungal nail infection caused by fungi. A fungal nail infection is not to be overlooked as it can be contagious and can get worse over time. As soon as the first signs of infection appear, it is important to start treatment.
For more information on Emtrix® antifungal treatment, visit the company’s website at .
In collaboration with Emtrix and Vie de Parent
* This product may not be suitable for you. Always read the label and follow the directions.
Is It Toenail Fungus Or Something Else
Odd-looking toenail? It may be a fungal infection, but theres a good chance that another condition could be to blame.
If you notice an odd spot on your toenail, you might assume its a fungal infection. However, theres a good chance that its not.
Spots or discolorations on or under a toenail could be bruises resulting from trauma to the nail, blood blisters, warts, or even subungual melanoma, a type of skin cancer, says Ami Sheth, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Los Gatos, California, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Since nail irregularities can be caused by diseases besides these as well, its best to get it looked at, says Dr. Sheth.
Richard Goad, a doctor of podiatric medicine at Baylor Scott & White Health in Waco, Texas, concurs. Sometimes the nail will be the first place to show another underlying problem, Dr. Goad says.
So is it a fungus, a false alarm, or another condition entirely?
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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Toenail Fungus
While toenail fungus is common, its usually not harmful. Symptoms mostly affect the look of your toenail.
Toenail fungus may spread to the skin between your toes or other areas of your body. When getting dressed, put your socks on first to reduce the chance of spread.
Treating toenail fungus takes a long time, and it doesnt always work. Even then, toenail fungus often returns. Discuss the pros and cons of treating toenail fungus with your provider to determine whats best for you.
Practicing good hygiene and foot care reduces the chance toenail fungus will come back. If you have diabetes, getting regular foot exams may help you address foot problems before they get serious.
Nail Fungal Infection Treatment
Prescription medicines can treat a fungal nail infection. Oral antifungal medicines help a new nail grow. This will replace the infected nail. You may need to take antifungal medicine for 6 to 12 weeks. Some oral medicines are not safe for people who have liver problems. They are not safe for people who have a history of congestive heart failure. Tell your doctor if you have one of these conditions. Your doctor will decide which medicine is right for you.
Apply topical treatments to the top of your nail. Topical medicines usually do not cure fungal nail infections.
In severe cases, a doctor might remove the nail completely. It can take several months to a year for the infection to go away.
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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
- Candidal onychomycosis
Nail Color And Structure Changes
Keratin is a protein that promotes the development of the skin and nails. Nail psoriasis sometimes causes too much keratin to grow under the nail. This overgrowth is called subungual hyperkeratosis.
People with hyperkeratosis may notice a white, chalky substance under the nail. When this occurs in the toenails, the pressure of shoes pushing down on the nails might cause pain.
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What Does Fungus Look Like
Toenail fungus usually starts off as a small white or yellowish spot near the tip of the nail.
As the fungal infection spreads and goes deeper into the nail, it causes the nail to discolor and become opaque. The nail thickens and eventually crumbles at the edges.
Nail fungus varies from white to yellow and can sometimes appear brown.
Regardless of the color of your fungi, it will be sort of splotchy looking rather than one uniform color.
The progression of the color of bruising will happen in a matter of days from dark red to black, as opposed to nail fungus which starts off white or yellowish and may eventually turn brown after weeks or months.
Nail fungus will make the nail look dull as the fungus starts to separate the keratin in the nail plate and it becomes opaque.
Avoid Having Damp Feet
Always ensure your feet are completely dry after youve bathed them in the foot basin and certainly before putting on shoes.
If not, the damp, enclosed space will be a perfect area for bacteria to thrive in, and fungus will start to grow between your feet and around your nails.
A good pedicurist will dry your feet completely before she paints your nail, including between the toes.
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How Toenail Fungus Occurs
Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is an infection that develops when microorganisms grow under the surface of your nail. It typically occurs after your toenail has had contact with a dermatophyte fungus, though it can also be related to molds or yeasts.
Anyone can have toenail fungus, but its more common in older adults. The condition affects about 75% of people over age 60. With age, your nails become more brittle and cracks develop on the surface. These cracks are the perfect entry points for fungi.
How Do You Know When Nail Fungus Is Gone
fungal nail infectionnailnailinfected nailnail
You may have nail fungus if one or more of your nails are:
Also Know, how do you know if toenail fungus is working? Nail fungus can be resistant to treatment and nails take a long time to grow out, so it can take several weeks or months for an infection to be fully resolved. You will know that the treatment is working and the infection is clearing up when you see growth of a new, healthy nail from the base of the nail bed.
Similarly, you may ask, how long does it take for nail fungus to go away?
Oral antifungal drugs.These drugs help a new nail grow free of infection, slowly replacing the infected part. You typically take this type of drug for six to 12 weeks. But you wont see the end result of treatment until the nail grows back completely. It may take four months or longer to eliminate an infection.
Can you scrape out toenail fungus?
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.
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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.
How To Avoid Toenail Fungus From Nail Salons
Toenail fungus can be difficult to eliminate, but if youd like to prevent it from resurfacing, there are a couple of methods available to you.
While its easy to keep nail fungus at bay when youre at home, it can be much harder when you visit nail salons as youre probably not aware of how clean they keep their nail stations.
Here are some top tips for choosing a nail salon that youre unlikely to catch a toenail fungus at.
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What Are The Similarities
Both can occur in the fingers and toes. Both nail psoriasis and fungal infections can happen in the toenails and fingernails. Nail fungus is more likely to happen in the toenails, while nail psoriasis is more likely to affect the fingernails.1,2
Other similarities include:
- Discoloration of the nail: Both psoriasis and fungal infections can cause discoloration of the nail. Patients with psoriasis often notice their nails change to a yellowish-brown color, while patients with fungal infections see yellow, brown and green colors.3,4
- Nail lifting or falling off: Both conditions can have a symptom where their nails separate from the nail bed or even fall off.3,4 This is known as Onycholysis.
- Nail thickening: Both conditions can cause the nails to thicken.1,2
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How Long Does Toenail Fungus Treatment Take
This process may take up to a year for your nail to fully grow out the infected nail.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association says fingernails typically grow out in 4 6 months while toenails take can take 12 to 18 months.
However, the physical appearance might noticeably improve within a few months. Even if the physical appearance is better, donât stop treating the nail as reinfection is very possible.
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How To Prevent Toenail Fungus
The easiest way to combat toenail fungus is to change your socks and shoes often, especially after exercising. Whenever youre in any kind of communal setting involving wet feet, like a locker room, wear flip-flops and avoid exposing your bare feet to any common surface.
Its always a good idea to wash your feet with antibacterial soap. When exercising, wear shoes that allow for proper ventilation and wear socks that are made with a breathable or wicking material.