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How To Scrape Toenail Fungus

Treating Fungal Nail Infection

How to get rid and prevent toenail fungus?

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.

What Is The White Hard Stuff Under My Toenails

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.

Thick Clip Quick Tips

Before we get into it, we should note that fungal nails are not the only way toenails grow thickened and cumbersome to clip.

Trauma to the nails, tightly fitting shoes with small toe boxes, and general heredity can sometimes cause nails to grow thick, so many of the tips well discuss here can apply to these situations as well.

First, however, we should definitely clear some helpful, fungus-specific tips out of the way. There is one big difference between toenail fungus and the conditions we mentioned above: the fungus is alive, and it can travel.

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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.


What Can Be Done For My Nails

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The best way to begin treating a fungal nail infection is to make sure we know what were dealing with. An examination with Dr. Gregg Neibauer here at Alpine Foot & Ankle Clinic is an excellent place to start. As part of the exam, we may scrape a small sample of the debris beneath a nail and have the particular type of fungus identified by a lab. Sometimes, other tiny organisms such as yeast and bacteria can cause an infection, so it is best to know for sure.

There are several different ways to treat toenail fungus, and the right treatment may depend on the type and severity of the infection. Medicated polishes and creams can sometimes be applied to the affected nails. This form of treatment is often more effective if the nails are professionally thinned first with a file or other tool. Even then, however, the medication is not always able to penetrate deep enough to take care of all the fungus.

An oral antifungal drug taken for up to 12 weeks can sometimes take care of an infection from the inside out. However, their effectiveness seems to decrease among older patients and they can come with side effects including liver damage. Patients with certain liver or heart conditions should not use these drugs.

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Who Gets Toenail Fungal Infections

A fungus can invade the toenails of anyone at any age, but it is far more common in older adults. Once you hit 60, your chances of getting a toenail fungus increase to about 75 percent. The odds are higher because blood flow is reduced as we get older, which slows nail growth. Nails become more dry and brittle, causing them to crack.

A fungus can enter through a break in the skin or under or beside the toenail. And quite frankly, toenails just get more difficult to reach and trim as our flexibility declines.

Longer nails are more prone to trauma, so older adults who may have trouble trimming their nails are at risk for trauma and subsequent infection, says dermatologist Shari Lipner, MD, associate professor of clinical dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York.

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Change Your Socks And Shoes

Sweaty, warm socks are a breeding ground for fungus. Wearing the same socks over multiple days encourages any small spores you may have picked up to grow.

Never wear socks for more than one day. Dont wear socks at night. Instead, allow your feet to breathe. Spray your shoes with an antifungal spray regularly.

Follow these tips, and even if you do pick up some spores, you may prevent them from growing.

What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Nail Fungus


A podiatrist is your best ally when it comes to determining the best and most effective treatment for toenail fungus. By seeking a podiatrists professional help, youre much more likely to get rid of toenail fungus and avoid possible irritation and infection to the area. Before providing a recommended treatment plan, your doctor will first evaluate the infected area. Treatment options include:

  • Topical or oral antifungal medications and removal of debris from the infected nail. Common oral medications for toenail fungus treatment are Lamisil and Sporanox. A common topical medication is Penlac.
  • Temporary removal of the infected nail.
  • Permanent removal of the infected nail. In more severe casesand if the infection is resisting topical and/or oral medicationsyour podiatrist may recommend laser toenail fungus removal. Laser toenail fungus removal is a safe and painless procedure that takes about 30 minutes to complete.

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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:

  • Amorolfine

  • Efinaconazole

  • Tavaborole

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:

  • Fluconazole

  • Itraconazole

  • Terbinafine

Toenail Fungus Home Care

Sometimes itâs possible to treat your toenail fungus at home. You can try:

  • Over the counter antifungal creams or ointments. File or cut off any white markings on your nails. Soak your nails in water and dry off before you put on the medicated cream.
  • Special nail care. If you keep your nails trimmed, it can reduce the pressure and pain you feel. You can also thin your nail bed by filing it down. This can help antifungal creams get to the problem easier.

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Dont Fear Asking For Help

Toenail Fungus Removal

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.

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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.

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.


Dr. Hull:


Dr. Hull:


Dr. Hull:

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Is Toenail Fungus Really Such A Problem

How do you know if you have a fungal nail infection?

If youre thinking you can just live with it, we dont advise letting toenail fungus go untreated. Its an insidious problem, and without treatment, you have to deal with the discomfort of the nail as well as feeling self-conscious about its unsightliness.

If you let a nail fungus infection go for too long, several problems emerge. The infected nail can become misshapen and increasingly separated from your nail bed. Itching and pain are unpleasant side effects if theyre too severe, you can have trouble wearing shoes or walking.

You need to be especially attentive to treating toenail fungus if your immune system is compromised. If youre living with diabetes, its critical not to ignore the fungus. Even a mild infection like this can snowball into something more serious, like cellulitis, a severe bacterial skin infection.

Another problem is that untreated fungus eventually can spread to either neighboring toenails or to the skin of your foot, causing athletes foot. Possibly the worst outcome of untreated nail fungus is needing to have your nail surgically removed.

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Will Clorox Kill Toenail Fungus

Fact Checked

Toenail fungus is an infection caused by the presence of fungi. Nail fungus often begins as a simple white or yellow area beneath the nail but can quickly progress to causing the entire nail to discolor, thicken and even crumble. There are several treatment options available for toenail fungus, but the use of standard Clorox bleach is a time-tested remedy that many people decide to use.

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

How To Help Toenail Fungus

Once you have been diagnosed with toenail fungus under your nails, there are several strategies that can help. They can be used independently or together, depending on your circumstances.

One treatment is with anti-fungal medications. These are pills taken by mouth, sometimes for weeks or months. Some people have medical conditions or are taking other medications that make these antifungal pills risky. Others who take them sometimes experience unwanted side effects. In these cases, I recommend other strategies.

Another common treatment for toenail fungus is medicated nail polish. These arent always very effective and must be used for many months. This is because nails are naturally a tough protective barrier. Because the infection is located underneath the nail, this makes it hard for the medication to penetrate through the nail to reach the underlying infection. This is especially true in cases where at least half of the nail is infected.

Both medications and medicated polish are long-term strategies that may be risky for many people, and may not work at all. Plus, treatment with these often takes several months.

This is why I prefer using laser technology. Its safe, quick, and pain-free.

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See A Podiatrist For Toenail Fungus Treatment

If youre uncomfortable with the appearance of your toes, make an appointment with a podiatrist. Professional, modern treatment methods are more effective at clearing up fungal infections than over the counter and home remedies.

Tackling a fungal infection on your own could be difficult and frustrating. Over-the-counter creams are often not strong enough to treat infections appropriately, and more complex treatments arent available for consumer use. The toenail fungus doctors, or podiatrists, at Arizona Foot Doctors are qualified to deal with many foot and ankle issues, including toenail fungus, and are dedicated to making you feel confident and comfortable throughout the treatment process.

After a gentle evaluation, our podiatrists will prescribe the most appropriate treatment for your situation, identify any underlying causes, and help you avoid future infections.

What Is The Outlook For Someone With Toenail Fungus

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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.

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Treatments For Fungal Nail Infections

Treatment isn’t always needed for a mild fungal nail infection because it’s unlikely to cause any further problems and you may feel it’s not worth treating.

Whether you decide to have treatment or not, you should still practise good foot hygiene to stop the infection getting worse or spreading to others.

Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you’re bothered by the appearance of the affected nail, or it’s causing problems such as pain and discomfort. They’ll probably recommend:

  • antifungal tablets tablets taken once or twice a day for several months
  • antifungal nail paints special paints applied directly to the nail over several months
  • nail softening kits where a paste is used to soften infected parts of the nail, before they’re removed with a scraping device

A procedure to remove the nail completely may be recommended in severe cases. Laser treatment, where a high-energy laser is used to destroy the fungus, is also an option. But this is only available privately and can be expensive.

You can reduce your risk of developing a fungal nail infection by:

Nail salon equipment can sometimes be the source of fungal nail infections. If you regularly visit a salon, make sure any equipment used is properly sterilised between uses.


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