A Pharmacist Can Help With Fungal Nail Infections
Speak to a pharmacist if the look of your nail bothers you or it’s painful.
They may suggest:
- antifungal nail cream it can take up to 12 months to cure the infection and does not always work
- nail-softening cream it’s used for 2 weeks to soften the nail so the infected part can be scraped off
The infection is cured when you see healthy nail growing back at the base.
How To Cure Nail Fungus
This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support , Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support , Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee in 2006. This article has been viewed 331,808 times.
Onychomycosis, or nail fungus, is a common infection that affects toenails and, less frequently, fingernails. It is caused by a group of fungus called dermatophytes, which thrives in warm, moist environments, like your shoes. If you suspect you have a nail infection, try to treat it quickly and routinely, as the fungus will continue to come back if allowed to take hold.
I Suspect I Have Toenail Fungus What Now
Well, now that you know the basics on toenail fungus and how Lunula laser therapy can help you get rid of it, maybe youre ready to give it a try. Please call our office at 515 FEET or submit a form online so we can go through options to make this process safe, easy, affordable, and worthwhile for you on your journey to happy, healthy toenails!
How Long To See Results
Toenail fungus can take a year to a year and a half to completely go away. Many of the above mentioned antifungal treatments can yield noticeable results in as little as a few weeks, with some taking multiple months to produce significant improvements. As of now, there isnt an immediate cure for toenail fungus nor is there a treatment that produces immediate results. In many cases, noticeable results arent immediate and not all antifungal treatments address the underlying causes of toenail fungus.
If theres an event or occasion coming up where you need your toes looking great, it is recommended that you begin treating your toenail fungus a few months beforehand.
Some patients have advanced toenail fungus that can only be treated at the podiatrists office. In the worst-case scenario, all or part of the toenail may be removed. This can take around a year to heal.
Whether you have a recent, minor form of toenail fungus or youve been battling your toenail fungus for many years, it is a good idea to pay us a visit at Advanced Foot and Ankle Center. Our feet specialist can help you find the best antifungal treatment for your case that is quick and which addresses the underlying cause of your toenail fungus.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
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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
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Results can take several weeks
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Staying One Step Ahead Of Toenail Fungus
An established fungal infection is hard to eradicate, but you can stop its spread and improve your toenail’s appearance.
Toenail fungus isn’t a pressing health problem. Yet a fungal infection can ruin the appearance of your nails and cause pain as it lifts the nail away from the nail bed. And fungal infections are notoriously difficult to get rid of. “You may want to consider fungal toenail a condition to be managed rather than cured,” says Dr. James P. Ioli, chief of the podiatry service at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Causes Of Nail Fungus
With fungal nail infections, the main cause is typically
Certain behaviors and preexisting conditions that can affect your risk of nail fungus include:
- old age
There are many overlaps between nail fungus and nail cancer. Since its easy to mistake cancer of the nail for a fungal infection, you should see a doctor immediately to get a definitive diagnosis.
See a doctor immediately if you suspect you have toenail fungus or subungual melanoma.
Since the prognosis of subungual melanoma gets worse the longer it takes to diagnose, its better to be safe and get any possible symptoms checked out and cleared as soon as they appear.
Fungal infections are not considered life-threatening, but the 5-year survival rate for subungual melanoma can vary dramatically depending on how early the cancer is identified. According to the Canada Dermatology Association, chances of recovery can range anywhere from 16 to 80 percent .
If you wait too long for diagnosis and treatment, theres a risk of the cancer spreading throughout the bodys organs and lymph nodes.
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What Nail Fungus Treatment Will My Doctor Recommend
Many people who suffer from nail fungus may try several over-the-counter or at-home remedies to alleviate the problem. If these methods are unsuccessful, you can receive nail fungus treatment at our Carrollton and Plano, TX locations.
The specific treatment for your nail fungus will depend on a variety of factors, such as the severity of the infection, whether the infection is recurring, and your personal medical history and preferences. Usually, nail fungus treatment is successful with pharmaceutical medications. Options may include oral antifungal drugs, medicated nail polishes, and nail creams. These treatments may take anywhere from several weeks to many months to see results.
For more severely painful or recurring infections, your podiatrist may recommend total nail removal so that a new nail can eventually take the place of the infected nail. Another emerging nail fungus treatment involves laser and light-based therapies. Speak to your doctor about your treatment options.
Why Is The Treatment Necessary
Onychomycosis, leads to discoloration and deformation of the nails. Particular problems include thickening, which may cause pain and make basic nail cutting difficult. In patients with complicating factors, deformed nails can lead to surrounding tissue damage and once again promote secondary bacterial infection. Furthermore, a recent study has highlighted the psychological, social and occupational effects of the condition which appear to have been underestimated by health care professionals for treating the condition.
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What Does Fungal Nail Look Like
Usually, it first appears on the edge of your nail, under the tip, as a white or yellow streak. This streak gradually spreads down the side of your nail to the base.
Eventually, your nail becomes brittle, discoloured, thickened and distorted. It can become so thick that it hurts when pressed against the side of a shoe.
The nail may end up crumbling and splitting, and separating from the skin. It often turns yellow or brown.
The surrounding skin may also become infected and may itch, crack, form a blister, or appear white especially between the toes. Its important to act quickly if you notice any of these symptoms. If you don’t treat the infection, there’s a chance it will worsen and spread to other nails.
> > > Best Toe Fungus Treatment Available
If you suspect your nails are infected with fungus, it is important to see a doctor. You should consult a doctor for treatment. A nail fungus can be treated with home remedies. Baking soda and vinegar can also help to eliminate the fungus. In some cases, you can even apply a diluted solution of one of these solutions. You should avoid touching the affected area as it may cause further complications.
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How Did I Get Nail Fungus
The fungi do not need a wide opening to cause an infection. Cracks in the nails or skin, or a small gap between the nail and nail bed, are more than sufficient.
You may have been exposed to fungus in the environment, and thenif your toes are sweaty and warmthe infection takes hold. Public pools, locker rooms, saunas, gyms, and bathrooms are all prime breeding grounds for fungus.
The infection is contagious, so it can easily pass from one toe to another, to the floors and footwear around you, and even to other people. Walking barefoot in high-risk areas, sharing footwear with an infected person, or touching the feet of someone with the fungus all sharply increase your chances of developing the condition.
The same kinds of fungi that cause athletes foot also cause fungal toenails. If you have a history of athletes foot, the fungus may have transferred from your skin to your nails via your shoes and socks.
What Causes Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is caused by fungal organisms called dermatophytes that enter the nail bed through a tiny cut or another tiny opening in the skin. The dermatophytes become rooted in the deeper layers of skin under the nail which acts as a protective shield, making treatment much more difficult. Dermatophytes prefer to live in warm, damp environments, and walking barefoot in public lockers rooms or showers can increase the risk of developing an infection. Fungal infections can also be caught by wearing shoes or socks belonging to someone who’s infected. They’re also more common among people with compromised immune systems or circulation problems.
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What You Need To Know About Onychomycosis
Onychomycosis is the scientific name for nail fungus. The condition can be caused by a number of things, such as an injury to the nail. A weakened immune system makes it difficult to fight off the fungi. Diabetes also increases the risk of fungal nail infections. These treatments are often painful and require several months of treatment. Usually, the best option for treating nail fungus is to consult a doctor and seek treatment.
One of the first things to do is visit your primary care physician, who can prescribe a prescription for an anti-fungal medication. The medication can be applied to the affected area and is designed to work on the infected area. However, it is recommended that people with a serious infection consult a medical practitioner before starting the treatment. Topical medications require daily application and can affect other medical conditions. The best treatment is a combination of oral and topical medications.
If you have a fungal infection, you must avoid wearing shoes or socks. While you should not walk while wearing shoes, you should avoid using artificial nails. If your toe is impacted, it is important to have your nail trimmed straight across. If possible, wear comfortable socks and change your shoes in public places. A doctor will often send the clippings to a lab for identification. Changing your socks and wearing sneakers is also recommended.
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If youre ready to take the plunge, where you can buy your package online through their website.
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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.
Supported by RB
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.
Terbinafine For Toenail Fungus Treatment
The best pill for toenail fungus is terbinafine. Evidence suggests it works better than the alternatives with the fewest side effects. Terbinafine results in resolution of toenail fungus 76% of the time. Common side effects may include headaches, skin rash, and vomiting. It is taken once a day for 6 to 12 weeks.
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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.
Editorial Note On The Review Process
F1000 Faculty Reviews are commissioned from members of the prestigiousF1000 Faculty and are edited as a service to readers. In order to make these reviews as comprehensive and accessible as possible, the referees provide input before publication and only the final, revised version is published. The referees who approved the final version are listed with their names and affiliations but without their reports on earlier versions .
The referees who approved this article are:
Evan Rieder, The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA
No competing interests were disclosed.
Chris G. Adigun, Dermatology & Laser Center of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
No competing interests were disclosed.
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Creams & Topical Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Over-the-counter fungal creams like clotrimazole dont work well for treating toenail fungus. Prescription nail polishes are available, but they take longer to work and arent effective for severe cases. Thats because they dont penetrate the nail very well. That said, they are still a good option for people with mild cases of toenail fungus, or for those who cant take the oral antifungals. Examples include:
Side effects are usually minor and include redness or burning at the application site.
You might hear or read about medicated chest rub as a treatment for toenail fungus, but its mostly hype. Its a tempting option because its so safe, easy to use, and cheap. But its not likely to help.
How To Spot A Nail Fungal Infection
Nail fungal infection, or onychomysis, is easy to spot. However, it is also easy to be mistaken for another nail disorder. Yellow nails, brittle nails, or blackened nails dont necessarily mean nail fungus they may be signs of other diseases or abnormalities. So what does a nail fungus look like? The infection starts with a fungusmost commonly dermatophytesthat infects one nail at first by getting in through the cracks of the nail. It is often painless, only making the nail look thickened and discolored. However, there are cases when the nail fungus infection can cause pain and discomfort. The nail may also begin to crumble from brittleness, or there may be white or yellow patches if the nail has been lifted from the skin underneath it . The fungus may also spread to and infect other nails.
As some of these symptoms can also be found in other nail and skin conditions, its recommended that the nail is assessed by a doctor. Proper diagnosis of the condition can mean proper treatment.
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