Keep After Your Feet Even If It Looks Like The Fungus Is Gone
The same fungus that causes athletes foot is the one that will infect the nails. So after youve treated the fungus and it looks like its out, the patient still has a lot of responsibility, Dr. Lipner says. You need to make sure it doesnt come back by applying an antifungal producta basic athletes foot productto your feet daily. If you get the fungus invading your feet, youll probably get it back in your nails, too. Apply an antifungal cream, spray, or powder to the shoes or the feet daily, she says. To some people, its a habit like brushing your teeth. For others, getting them to do it is like pulling teeth.
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Going Green: The Complexities Of The Green Nail Syndrome
I find a unique satisfaction in diagnosing the green nail syndrome it is easy to recognize and very reassuring to patients who were convinced they had a subungual melanoma. Based on new data, my concern is that the instantaneous diagnosis may have occasionally obviated further scrutiny of their nail disorder.
GNS has been described as a triad of green discoloration of the nail plate, proximal paronychia, and distal onycholysis. The color of the nail may vary from blue-green, to green-brown, or green-yellow. Usually only one or two nails are involved. GNS often is noted in patients with other nail disorders such as psoriasis or paronychia, especially in the context of a moist environment this is particularly true for hairdressers, dishwashers, and medical personnel. The differential diagnosis includes oncychomycosis, subungal hematoma, or melanoma.
Treatment begins with measures to keep the nails dry, avoiding wet work if possible. Briefly soaking the nail in a diluted sodium hypochlorite solution also helps to suppress bacterial growth. I often recommend diluted acetic acid soaks. Additionally, either topical or systemic antibiotics may be utilized. Bae et al report the successful treatment of GNS with tobramycin eye drops. Fluoroquinolones such as ciprofloxacin or levofloxacin are regarded as first-line systemic treatment. Nail extraction may be required in refractory cases.
Can You Have Toenail Fungus And Green Nail Syndrome
One issue is that toenail fungus and green nail syndrome can occur at the same time. Its quite likely. Both forms of infection occur because of:
- Nail trauma, either chronic or acute
- Poor foot hygiene, e.g., re-wearing socks or not washing
- Allowing the feet to stay damp or wet
As such, you can catch both at the same time. If this occurs, youll have a thick green toenail. It will also become crumbly in places.
The two infections work together, in a way. Fungal infection breaks down the nail, causing damage. Youre then more likely to get a bacterial infection too. Plus, bacterial infection inhibits the ability of antifungal compounds to reach deep-down fugal spores.
If so, you will have to begin a combined treatment, e.g., antibiotics and an antifungal cream. In severe cases, it may be better to have the nail surgically removed. Your doctor will advise you on a course of treatment.
Toenail Fungus Treatment Complications
Here are some things to think about when deciding on a nail fungus treatment.
If you have a disease like diabetes, your doctor will make sure you treat nail fungus. This illness often makes you more likely to have other problems from minor foot issues.
You may not be able to take antifungal pills because of side effects or because they donât work well with other drugs you take. If that’s the case, try a product that goes onto your nail. Your doctor will call this a topical treatment.
Be patient. Your nails may not look “normal” after treatment. It can take as long as a year to 18 months for your nail to grow out a fungus.
Possible Causes Of Yellow Nails
If your nails have been damaged by dyes or harsh products, new nail growth should be a healthy, clear color. If your nails continue to be yellow, there may be something else going on in your body. Sometimes having yellow nails can be an indication of something more serious. Vitamin or mineral deficiencies can cause nails to appear yellow, and introducing a multivitamin supplement to your regiment may stop the problem.
In some cases, nails that remain yellow despite repeated treatment can be a symptom of thyroid conditions, psoriasis, or diabetes. In rare situations, yellow nails can indicate the presence of skin cancer. A condition called yellow nail syndrome is indicated by continually yellow nails and respiratory or lymphatic problems.
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Nail Fungus: Polish Cream Or Tablets
Nail fungus can be very persistent. Topical treatment with nail polish may take up to one year. Tablets for treating fungal nail infections usually have to be taken for several weeks or months. They are much more effective than topical treatments, but they have more side effects.
Brittle nails and a whitish-yellowish or brownish discoloration are typical signs of nail fungus. The nails may also become thicker and change shape. The affected part of the nail sometimes detaches from the nail bed. The treatment options for nail fungus include nail polishes and creams as well as tablets. Nail polishes and creams are available in pharmacies without a prescription.
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How Would I Know If I Have A Nail Infection
Fungus grows in warm, moist places such as under nails. When fungus has a chance to grow in the nail, it can turn into a fungal infection, which is a common problem. Typical signs of a fungal infection include new white or yellow patches and streaks, but nails can also turn brown or green. Youll see lifting of the nail from the skin underneath, and sometimes you will see thickening of the nail. The nail will look bumpy or have ridges with crumbly debris underneath. It may even be so misshapen that it seems to be veering off to the side, or the nail may fall off completely.
If the infection is caused by bacteria instead of a fungus, you may notice redness, swelling, pain or pus in the skin surrounding the nail.
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How Is Toenail Fungus Diagnosed
Nearly 3 million people in the United States are diagnosed with toenail fungus each year. Men are up to three times more likely to develop toenail fungus than women. You are also at a higher risk for a toenail fungus infection if you smoke or have diabetes. Also, individuals with compromised immune systems may experience toenail fungus that can turn into an infection.
When feet remain moist or damp, the fungus can grow, causing discoloration and thickening of toenails. Infection can cause discomfort and pain. The spread of fungus and infection can go from toe to toe, hand, fingernails, or skin on other parts of the body.
The toenail may become warped, cracked, or loosen itself away from the nail bed. Often the nail appears yellowish and may have white spots. Your doctor will examine your feet and potentially take a small sample of skin or nail to be sent off to a laboratory for testing. Your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist, podiatrist, or other healthcare professional if your condition is unusual or needs special care. Other foot conditions such as psoriasis can look similar to a fungal infection. Lab reports can indicate if the problem is fungal, helping the doctor prescribe the best medication for effective treatment.
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Fungal Nail Infection Symptoms
Symptoms are different depending on which type of fungal nail infection you have. They usually start mild and get more serious.
- At first, you may only see a white or yellow spot under your nail. Over time, this spreads and can turn your whole nail white, yellow, green, or black.
- The nail may thicken and could be hard to trim.
- It may start to curl up or down or loosen from the nail bed.
- Your nail could become brittle and crumble when you touch it.
- Your nail may become misshapen.
- You may notice a bad smell.
Itâs easy to ignore fungal nail infections at first, since you may not have any pain. But if you donât treat them, it can hurt to put any pressure on the area. If an infection gets bad enough, it could even become hard to walk.
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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.
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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.
Green Toenail Fungus Vs Green Nail Syndrome
There are several species of fungi that cause toenail fungal infections. However, each kind causes similar symptoms. These include:
- Yellow or brown discoloration
- The nail crumbling away and becoming misshapen
- Onycholysis, i.e., where the nail lifts away from the nail bed
- A fungal smell, similar to cheese
Green nail syndrome is caused by a bacterial infection, not fungus. Symptoms include:
- Yellow-green discoloration, ranging to greenish-black if severe
- Onychodystrophy, i.e., the nail becoming misshapen
- The nail lifting away from the nail bed
- A smell similar to sugary fruit, grape juice, or tortillas
The symptoms for green nail syndrome are quite similar to toenail fungus. Lets take a look at each in depth, to help you figure out which condition you have.
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They Grimaced When I Took Off My Shoes
It happened last summer. A group of us were at the beach for a swim party. Everyone was having a great time, laughing and playing around in the water. I sat down to take off my shoes and join the fun.
Ahhh, there was Nancy, the woman Id been trying to meet for weeks. She was standing right next to my beach chair. Nancy gasped and stepped away. “Oh, my gosh! Your nails are a mess!”
Id noticed for several months that my big toe nail wasn’t as healthy appearing as others. I just ignored it, thinking it would go away. It seemed to be getting worse instead of better. My toe didnt really hurt much, but Nancy was right. It looked bad.
Nancy turned and walked away. I watched her move with the easy grace of ocean waves. My hopes were crushed.
I sat there awhile feeling depressed. Then, a shy girl came up to me. Id noticed her before, but she was always so quiet. She was always in the background, watching, and never saying much. Frankly, I just forgot about her.
She knelt down in the sand and took my feet in her soft hands. The sun was shining on her silky hair, as she looked at my nails for a minute.
Then she looked up at me. John, I used to have unsightly nails but I got Zetaclear, and look at my nails now.”
I looked, and then suddenly realized how pretty she was, especially her eyes. Her eyes were warm and beautiful.
She smiled a sweet smile, stood, and started away. Wait, I yelled after her. I dont even know your name.
How Do You Keep Your Toenails Healthy
It is important to take good care of your nails, just as you would with anything else. If you tend to do a lot of exercise, invest in a good pair of trainers, dont just opt for the most stylish! Ill-fitting shoes can cause a great deal of pain, so always get your feet measured for the right size of footwear. Dont neglect your toenails, make sure you clean, moisturize and keep them cool when relaxing at home.
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Difference Between Toenail Fungus And Green Nail Syndrome
To clear up dark green toenails and fingernails, you need to start by diagnosing the reason for the nail condition. Toenail fungus and green nail syndrome are often confused, and its easy to understand why, but you can quickly learn how to tell them apart easily.
Do I have dark green toenail fungus or green nail syndrome? Green nail syndrome is a bacterial, not a fungal, infection. Toenail fungus causes yellow or brown, crumbly nails while green nail syndrome turns nails green. Fungal infection results in a cheese-like smell, while green nail syndrome smells sweet and fruity.
Well look more closely at the differences between dark green toenail fungus and green nail syndrome. Well also provide information about the treatment of bacterial and fungal nail infections.
Signs And Symptoms Of Green Nail Syndrome
The Characteristic Features Of Green Nail Syndrome Are Mentioned Below:
- The nail stops growing when affected with green nail syndrome.
- A characteristic appearance of green and thickened nail instead of a normal appearing nail is one of the most common sign and symptom of green nail syndrome.
- The nail when affected with this syndrome will be excessively curved.
- Loss of the strip of hardened skin at the base and sides of a fingernail or cuticles may also occur once affected with green nail syndrome.
- In this case, the nail will be separated from the nail bed and might start falling out in worst cases.
- In some of the cases, the nail bed and the soft tissue is also affected. The entire soft tissue or the soft tissue at the edge of the nails is affected in many cases. And both toenails and finger nails can be affected by the condition.
- Green nail syndrome is also found to be present in greater frequency in individuals with certain forms of cancer and other conditions/disorders like immunodeficiency syndromes, nephritic syndrome, thyroid disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
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Fungal Nail Infection Treatment
See your doctor if you think you have nail fungus. It can be tough to get rid of, and youâre more likely to have success with a prescription. Treatments include:
- Oral antifungals. The doctor may give you a pill to kill fungus in your whole body. This is usually the best way to get rid of a nail infection. Treatment may last 2 months for an infection in your fingernails, or 3 months if itâs in your toenails.
- Topical antifungals. You rub or brush these medicines onto your nails. They may work for a mild infection, but they canât get deep enough into the nail to cure a more serious one. You might use a topical treatment in combination with a pill.
- Surgery. If other treatments donât work, the doctor may need to remove your nail entirely and let a healthy one grow back in its place. The new nail could also get infected.
- Laser or photodynamic therapy. Doctors are studying newer treatments that use special light to try to kill the fungus.
Devices Used To Treat Onychomycosis
Recently, non-drug treatment has been developed to treat onychomycosis thus avoiding the side effects and risks of oral antifungal drugs.
Lasers emitting infrared radiation are thought to kill fungi by the production of heat within the infected tissue. Laser treatment is reported to safely eradicate nail fungi with one to three, almost painless, sessions. Several lasers have been approved for this purpose by the FDA and other regulatory authorities. However, high-quality studies of efficacy are lacking, and existing studies indicate that laser treatment is less medically effective than topical or oral antifungal agents.
- Nd:YAG continuous, long or short-pulsed lasers
- Ti:Sapphire modelocked laser
- Diode laser
using the application of 5-aminolevulinic acid or methyl aminolevulinate followed by exposure to red light has also been reported to be successful in small numbers of patients, whose nails were presoftened or medically avulsed using 40% urea ointment for a week or so.
Iontophoresis and ultrasound are under investigation as devices used to enhance the delivery of antifungal drugs to the nail plate.
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