About Fungal Nail Infection
Many people develop a fungal nail infection at some point in their life. It’s not usually serious, but can be unpleasant and difficult to treat.
The infection develops slowly and causes the nail to become discoloured, thickened and distorted.
Toenails are more frequently affected than the fingernails.
The medical name for a fungal nail infection is onychomycosis.
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How To Cut Off A Fungal Toenail
In the early stages of toenail fungus, its not that hard to trim the nails. Once they get thicker, though, you may find that the clippers wont go all the way through, or may even break.
When you have thickening nails, you need to buy a pair of quality toenail clippers. If not, you will inevitably break many pairs. The clippers may slip off the nail and cut your skin, or they may only cut off a small piece of the nail. Youll then have to try to line them up with the previous clipping to remove that piece of the nail. It can make life tricky, especially if your own mobility is restricted/limited in some way.
Doctors recommend cutting fungal toenails straight across. This is because the nails can become ingrown or embedded in the top corners of the toe, and ingrown nails can be really painful. Its the last thing that you want to happen when youre dealing with toenail fungus.
Its recommended that you cut nails when they are soft. This would be after youve got out of the bath or shower, or after youve had a foot soak. This neednt be a burden. You can make the experience pleasurable by using the latest electric foot spa machine.
A pair that is used by many doctors is called KlipPro Toenail Clippers for thick nails. We will talk more about these specialist clipping tools shortly.
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What If Nail Removal Is Considered
With laser therapy, topical medications, and oral antifungals in our arsenal, we almost never have to actually remove toenails to treat a fungal infection. It does still remain a rare possibility, however, if the case is extreme or continues to come back.
Why not consider nail removal earlier? Because when nails are fully removed, it doesnt necessarily guarantee that the new nail will grow in properly. The nail can grow back misshapened, thickened, or even with fungus re-infecting the toenail.
If the new nail comes back in an unpleasant manner or the fungus just continues coming back no matter what, we can treat the underlying nail matrix to prevent new nail from ever growing again . This does not place your nails at any real disadvantage, but its still nice to be able to keep your toenails if you can!
When To See A Doctor About Toenail Fungus
If you are experiencing persistent toenail fungus or pain is present, you may need to see a specialist. A dermatologist or podiatrist may be able to assess your symptoms and send a small sample of the affected toenail or flesh to a laboratory to be analyzed as there are various types of fungi and yeasts that cause onychomycosis. Knowing the specific cause of your foot fungus can help identify what route to take to treat your condition.
Nail changes can also be caused by underlying conditions, like psoriasis and diabetes, so its important to seek professional medical advice if your condition persists or worsens. Bacterial and fungal infection of skin in diabetes patients often result in hospital admissions, and in severe cases, can result in amputations. If you are at a higher risk for infection, you should skip home remedies and seek professional medical treatment.
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Should You Remove A Dead Toenail
Dead toenails are awful, even at the best of times. So its only natural to want to remove them. But should you do so? Here is what you need to know.
So, should you remove a dead toenail? It is generally advised not to remove a dead toenail. Doing so can cause injury and trauma, resulting in a nail that does not grow back optimally. Thankfully, a dead toenail should come off naturally on its own and should grow back in time.
Mid-winter during boot season might be an easier time to handle one, but that doesnt mean that its enjoyable.
But during summer, when your feet will be on display? Dreadful!
Theyre often unsightly, and theres only really two ways to hide one: polish and a Bandaid, both of which are temporary solutions.
Because of that, it can be tempting just to rip that bad boy off.
No toenail cant be more conspicuous than a dead one, right?
But dont just do it spur-of-the-moment.
There are upsides and downsides to removing a dead toenail.
Let us now take a closer look at all that is involved here.
That way, youll be in a much better position and know exactly what to do
We will start with the most common causes. Why because you want to ensure that you do not cause future dead nails again!
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.
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How To Cut Your Toenails To Avoid Ingrown Toenails
Chances are you havent given your toes much thought today. That is unless youre dealing with an ingrown toenail. When the edge of a toenail starts growing into the surrounding flesh, you may develop a painful problem thats hard to ignore.
While some ingrown toenail issues respond to home care, serious cases may need the attention of a specialist. Dr. Errol Gindi and the team at his podiatry practice can help ease your foot pain. In the meantime, heres what you need to know to avoid an ingrown toenail disaster.
How Do You Get A Fungal Nail Infection
Most fungal nail infections occur as a result of the fungi that cause athlete’s foot infecting the nails.
These fungi often live harmlessly on your skin, but they can sometimes multiply and lead to infections. The fungi prefer warm, dark and moist places like the feet.
You’re more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you:
- don’t keep your feet clean and dry
- wear shoes that cause your feet to get hot and sweaty
- walk around barefoot in places where fungal infections can spread easily, such as communal showers, locker rooms and gyms
- have damaged your nails
- have a weakened immune system
- have certain other health conditions, such as diabetes, psoriasis or peripheral arterial disease
Fungal nail infections can be spread to other people, so you should take steps to avoid this if you have an infection.
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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.
Best Ointment: Fungi Nail Anti
Infused with five oils for skin healing
Easy-to-use brush applicator
Only for mild infections
Doesn’t heal the nail plate
Fungi Nail Antifungal Ointment uses an innovative design to address multiple forms of fungal infections one can find on their feet. Its wide-tip applicator applies the appointment on larger areas of the feet, such as the soles and in-between toes. Then the smaller applicator works to get around the nail cuticles and underneath the nail.
Once applied, the maximum-strength ointment kills the fungus with the active ingredients of zinc undecylenate and undecylenic acid to help treat toenail fungus. The ointment also soothes itching and burning that can come with an infection, all while healing the skin. For best results, apply twice a day to clean, dry feet.
The ointment also soothes itching and burning that can come with an infection, all while healing the skin. For best results, apply twice a day to clean, dry feet.
Active Ingredients: Zinc undecylenate 20% and Undecylenic acid 5% | Dose: Tube and brush applicator delivers the appropriate amount. Apply thin layer on affected area twice daily or as directed by a doctor. | Uses: Treats and prevents fungal infections fights athletes foot and ringworm
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Additional reporting for this story by Jennifer Nied
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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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How Long Does It Take For A Dead Toenail To Fall Off
It can take as long as six months for a toenail to fall off and the new toenail to grow in. The time depends on your health, how fast your nails normally grow, and many other factors. Talk with your doctor if youre concerned.
So, well start with the bad news: it can take a long time for your toenail to grow back.
While fingernails can be back in as little as eight weeks, toenails are usually slower-growing.
So be prepared to be without a toenail for approximately half a year.
This can change, of course.
If youre a person who has to clip their toenails daily to keep from having talons, youll probably have a healthy nail again sooner.
As always, supplements like biotin cant hurt , and theres a chance theyll help your new nail be healthier and stronger.
The wait wont be easy, but it will be worth it.
Be careful if you try to use false toenails to cover it up.
Dont use anything that could cause further damage to your nailbed, and do use products that are gentle on the skin.
Whatever you do, dont glue a falsie directly to your nailbed!
Thats not a good idea and can cause real damage, both from the chemicals on your bare skin for long periods and the probability of accidentally tearing them off.
How Can I Tell If I Have Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus usually starts subtly, so you might not notice anything different with your nail immediately. After a while, though, you see some noticeable differences that indicate a fungal condition. Nails become:
Because a nail infected with a fungus is compromised, it can also break or split easily. As the condition progresses, itchiness and pain can occur, and the nail becomes separated from the nail bed.
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Toenail Fungus Treatment Options
Toenail fungus can be treated by a variety of options. There are over-the-counter products as well as options that can be prescribed by a podiatrist. Common over-the-counter treatments are topical antifungal creams, lotions, and products that can be applied directly to the nail. For mild cases that are caught early, an at-home treatment may help but may not be most effective in the long term. If you have a condition such as diabetes, a problem with circulation, or a weakened immune system, a toenail fungal infection can lead to other serious complications.
If your toenail fungus does not respond to at-home treatment, consult with your podiatrist for an evaluation. Your podiatrist will examine your feet and nails to determine what treatment option will work best for your condition. A skin scraping may be done to find out what type of fungus is causing the infection. Factors such as the type of fungus causing the infection and the severity of your condition will determine what treatment will work for your specific needs. Often a combination of treatments may be used to clear up the infection. Toenail fungus could recur after treatment even if the treatment was successful.
Some common toenail fungus treatments include:
- Prescription topical creams
- Topical solutions such as a medicated nail polish
- Laser treatment to remove the damaged area of the nail or skin
When To Remove The Toenail
If only part of a toenail has fallen off, it is essential to leave the remaining part of the nail in place.
In this case, instead of removing it, a person should trim or file any jagged or uneven edges to smooth it out. This will help prevent further injury or the nail catching on socks or footwear.
Any nail that has not completely come away from the nail bed or is still attached to another bit of nail should be clipped off. Once clipped, the remaining nail should be smoothed out with a file.
If a person removes a nail, they are at greater risk of damaging the skin of the nail bed and of developing an infection. Signs of infection can include:
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Toenail Fungus Prescription Medications
Sometimes prescription medications are needed to treat a toenail infection that just wont go away with natural remedies or over-the-counter medication in a few months. In this case, prescription-strength antifungal medication can eradicate stubborn onychomycosis.
Topical medications often are effective in treating mild to moderate toenail fungus. Topical solutions may include medicated nail polishes or liquid medications. Loprox , Penlac , Kerydin , and Jublia are among the top prescription drugs for toenail fungus.
What Are The Most Effective Treatments For Toenail Fungus
The experts at Easton Dermatology Associates offer treatment customized to your exact situation, whether youve just noticed an irregularity with your toenail or youve been battling fungus for a while. Treatment options include:
- Prescription oral antifungal medications
- Topical nail cream
- Special antifungal nail polish that allows your nails to breathe
No matter what treatment you adopt, patience is key. It can take several months to clear up toenail fungus because even nails that grow at an average rate dont grow rapidly. We treat your fungus until its a thing of the past, and we also advise you on how to prevent a recurrence.
Its much easier to solve the problem when youre in the early stages of infection, before it becomes too advanced.
Do at either of our locations in Easton or Salisbury, Maryland, so we can start helping you eliminate embarrassing and persistent nail fungus problems ASAP. When next summer rolls around, you can be back in those oh-so-chic sandals!
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