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What Causes Nail Fungus On Feet

What Foods Should You Avoid To Prevent Toenail Fungus

How Did I Get Toenail Fungus? -Indianapolis Podiatrist Discusses Fungus Infection of Toenails

Do you love carbs? If you do, then you have one thing in common with those pesky fungi. They easily metabolize most carbohydrates, which causes them to multiply faster than you can munch down that glazed doughnut.

You dont need to go on a totally carb-free diet, but you can cut down on the following:

  • Sugary foods and sweetened drinks. Its okay to indulge your sweet tooth every once in a while. But if youre especially prone to fungal infections, or if youve had one before, you might want to think twice before getting that extra slice of chocolate cake or supersizing that soda.
  • Refined carbohydrates. Also known as bad carbs, some examples of these are white rice, white pasta, pancakes, waffles, and any kind of bread that isnt whole grain. What sets these apart from the so-called good carbs is the refining or milling process. This eliminates all the good stuff from whole grains such as dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.
  • Alcohol.Aside from the fact that some alcoholic drinks have more sugar than you might think, alcohol can also weaken your immune system. This makes you more prone to fungal overgrowth and thus lead to toe nail fungus, among other kinds of fungal infections.

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.

When Does Toenail Fungus Need Medical Intervention

Fungus infections spread easily, and they typically require some type of treatment to eliminate for good. We know that its not always easy to talk about a fungal infection, but rest assured, these infections are very common. Dr. Kaplan encourages you to seek podiatric care if your at-home care hasnt improved the state of your nails or if your nail becomes increasingly thickened, brittle, discolored, or misshapen.

If you have diabetes, skip the at-home care and seek podiatric care. Having diabetes can increase your risk of complications from any foot-related condition, including infections, sores, or blisters.

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Softening And Scraping Away The Nail

As it can take a long time for antifungal medication to work, some people may prefer to use a treatment that involves softening and removing infected parts of nail over a few weeks.

Treatment kits are available from pharmacies that contain a 40% urea paste, plasters and a scraping device. The paste softens the infected parts of the nail, allowing them to be scraped away so they can be gradually replaced with healthy nail.

To use the treatment:

Nail Fungus May Spread To The Skin And Other Nails

Is this toenail fungus? Find out here.  Eltham Foot Clinic

Nail fungal infections are highly contagious, and it is possible that they may spread to other healthy nails surrounding it. Fungus does not only infect nails. It may also result to the contamination of the foots skin. This condition is more commonly known as athletes foot and it makes the skin on your feet red, itchy, and cracked. People who wear heavy footwear and sweaty socks all day are more susceptible to the spread of nail fungal infections to the other areas of the feet.

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Are Oral Medications For Nail Fungus Toxic

The newer drugs are unlikely to cause any liver problems in patients without known liver disease. Blood tests are not needed for once-weekly treatment with fluconazole however, people taking longer courses often have their liver function tested before starting the medicine and then retested during the course of treatment. It is important to notify the doctor of all side effects while on the medication. You should tell your doctor of all current medications to prevent potential serious drug interactions.

Top 3 Reasons To Treat Nail Fungus

Cosmetic Concerns

One of the most common reasons patients want to treat their nail fungus is to improve the appearance of their nails.

This is especially true of fingernails, but even toenails can be a concern during the summer when they are more visible. Nail fungus can cause embarrassment and some sufferers stop activities, such as yoga or swimming, so that others will not see their toenails.

Pain and Mobility

If left untreated, fungal nail infections can cause pain and mobility problems. These can occur as the nails thicken when the infection progresses. It may become uncomfortable to wear closed shoes and to walk, exercise or stand. For this reason, early treatment is recommended before the infection becomes more severe or has spread to other toenails.

Recurrence and Transmission

Although nail fungus rarely causes serious health risks, the nail can become a fungal reservoir leading to recurrent fungal infections of the skin. These can cause fissures or cracks, leaving the feet more vulnerable to secondary bacterial infections. People with a weakened immune system, such as diabetes or peripheral vascular disease, may be more susceptible to both fungal infections and other secondary infections, resulting from it such as cellulitis.

Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Severe Nail Fungus

What Causes Toenail Discoloration

Problems with toenail discoloration might not sound like a particularly serious health issue, but in fact what causes toenail discoloration can vary greatly and it can be a sign of something harmless like overuse of dark nail varnish, or it can be a symptoms of a serious underlying medical condition like liver problems or poor circulation.

Most commonly what causes toenail discoloration is a fungal infection, but it may be useful for you to know some of the other causes, and what the different colors might indicate. At the least it can guide you to a treatment so that you can wear your favourite sandals next summer, or it might indicate you really need to see your doctor.

Potentially Causes Toenail Discoloration

  • Trauma dropping something on the nail can cause it to discolor
  • Over use of dark nail vanish can stain the nail and cause it to change color this does grow out as the new nail grows through bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection

Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, heart problems, liver dysfunction, poor circulation you should seek medical help straight away for any of these Genetic health issues such as yellow nail syndrome

Nail Fungus Treatment For Nail Discoloration

Treatment depends on what is causing the discoloration. Fungal infections are hard to treat when in the nails, especially the toenails. The treatment has to get through the nail to the fungus if it is topical.

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What Are The Different Kinds Of Toenail Fungus

Reverse Nail Fungus Caused by Athlete’s Feet
  • 1. Yeast Infection

Candida albicans can infect children mostly with a weakened immune system. They can be infected in nails, mouth, hair or torso.

This infection is relatively rare in adults and can only happen because of genetic disorders or a weak immune system.

  • 2. White Islands

The white spots are formed on toenails and fingernails. In this case, the fungi spreads in the toenails and thrives in the nailbed. This is the most common type of toenail fungus.

  • 3. Distal Toenail Infection

In this type of fungus infection, the nail shifts from the nailbed and that allows the fungi to enter the skin tissue. This is usually caused by wearing tight or closed shoes.

  • 4. Proximal Toenail Infection

This is only seen in people with a weak immune system. The fungus directly enters the nailbed and starts multiplying because the immunity doesnt attack it well.

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Take Care Of Your Toes

Use soap and water to wash your feet, and dry well, including between toes. Trim your toenails straight across to keep them shorter than the end of your toe. Make sure the tools you use are clean, too. Wash clippers and files with soap and water, then wipe with rubbing alcohol. You might be tempted to cover up discolored nails with polish, but dont. Your nail bed cant breathe, which keeps fungus from going away.

Treatments For Fungal Nail Infections

Treatment isnt always needed for a mild fungal nail infection because its unlikely to cause any further problems and you may feel its 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 youre bothered by the appearance of the affected nail, or its causing problems such as pain and discomfort. Theyll 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 theyre 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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What Is Toenail Fungus Meaning & Definition

Toenail fungus is a fungal nail infection that affects toenails. Although it is less common, fingernail fungus is a similar infection that affects the fingernails. Toenail fungus occurs when a fungus grows on or under the toenail. Toenail fungus tend to affect the big toe more than the other toes.

The term nail fungus is used to refer to both toenail fungus and fingernail fungus. Nail fungus is commonly known as onychomycosis among medical practitioners.

Toenail fungus is among the common toenail problems and is the most frequent cause of an infected toenail. Though less common, another cause of infected toenail is toenail bacteria, which is a bacterial toenail infection.

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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.

Difficulties With Nail Infections

While many cases of fungus are mild, some become complicated. When issues are severe, the toxins can cause permanent damage to the nail, and you may lose it. The goal is to keep the infection from spreading to other body areas beyond the feet.

The biggest concern is those who have a compromised immune system, which can be dangerous if the infection gets out of control. Those with Type 2 diabetes can often have circulation issues too that affect their feet. This puts you at a greater risk of developing a bacterial skin infection like cellulitis that can be dangerous.

With diabetes, any infection that affects your feet can be a severe complication requiring prompt medical help. While most dont need to be concerned if there is a small dot of yellow or white under the nail, for the diabetic, its a cause for alarm.

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How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose A Fungal Nail Infection

Fungal nail infection can be identified by its appearance. However, other conditions and infections can cause problems in the nails that look like fungal nail infection. Fungal nail infection must be confirmed by laboratory tests before beginning treatment, because treatment is long, expensive, and does have some risks.

Hosiery And Toenail Fungus

The Cause and Treatment of Toe Nail Fungus

Wearing pantyhose can lead to sweaty feet and the potential for a toenail fungal infection. “Nylon hosiery doesn’t absorb sweat, so when wearing hosiery inside a shoe, there’s an increased chance of fungal growth,” Zinkin says. If you must wear hosiery, put some antiperspirant or baby powder on your feet before slipping into your stockings. This will help reduce sweating and the chance of fungus growing.

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Nail Fungus Can Cause Other Forms Of Body Infections

Other body infections are a huge risk when a nail fungal infection is ignored. As mentioned, nail fungal infections may contaminate the surrounding skin. When the skin becomes cracked and open, bacteria can easily enter and create a widespread infection all over your body.

A simple fungal nail infection can lead to cellulitis. This condition produces swollen, red, tender skin and demands immediate treatment with antibiotics. Severe cellulitis can also enter the bloodstream and become life-threatening.

Symptoms Of A Nail Fungus

The most common sign of a fungus of the nail is a thickened surface. Here are some other symptoms in the nails:

  • Yellow or Brown Discoloration
  • Debris Building Under the Nail
  • Dark Coloring
  • Impossible to Cut with Clippers Because its too thick

Fungus of the nails if quite common. It often starts as a white spot under the nail that is an annoyance more than anything else. However, as the infection grows and penetrates, you will see it turn colors, become thicker, and crumble. What started as a fungus affecting one nail can quickly spread to other toe or fingernails too.

Some mild conditions that are troublesome may not require treatment. However, when the nail becomes thick, turns colors, or has a foul smell, you can do some home-based therapies. Keep in mind that even if your efforts are successful, the fungus can return.

The same fungus that gets between the toes and causes athletes foot is called tinea pedis, and its not the same as onychomycosis or nail fungi, but having this infection in between the toes can undoubtedly spread to the nails if there is an opening that allows it to creep in.

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Whos At Risk For Fungal Infections

There are many different causes of fungal nail infections. Each cause has a treatment of its own. Although many of the causes of a fungal nail infection are preventable, some risk factors increase the likelihood of developing one. Youre more likely to develop a fungal nail infection if you:

  • wear closed-toe shoes, such as tennis shoes or boots

Nail infections occur more often in men than in women, and the infections are found in adults more often than in children. If you have family members who often get these types of fungal infections, youre more likely to get them as well.

Older adults have a high risk for getting fungal nail infections because they have poorer circulation. The nails also grow more slowly and thicken as we age.

A fungal infection of the nail may affect part of the nail, the entire nail, or several nails.

Common signs of a fungal nail infection include:

  • a distorted nail that may lift off from the nail bed
  • an odor coming from the infected nail
  • a brittle or thickened nail

A Family History Of Toenail Fungus

Yellow toenails and diabetes

“Toenail fungal infection can be affected by heredity and some families are more prone to it than others. In these cases, toenail fungus is sometimes seen at an earlier age,” says Cary Zinkin, DPM, a podiatrist in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, toenail fungus is most common in men over age 60. If you have a family history of toenail fungal infections, take time to inspect your feet daily and see a doctor promptly if you suspect toenail fungus.

Read Also: How To Stop Fungus From Spreading

Nail Polish And Toenail Fungus

Nail polish may make your toes look pretty, but it can also cause toenail fungus. Heavy nail polish tends to block light, creating an environment more conducive to fungal growth, Zinkin says. So give your toenails a break from polish periodically.

If you’re treating yourself to a pedicure, take note: Toenail fungus can be transferred through nail files and clippers, so make sure the salon properly sanitizes all tools after each customer. And you may want to schedule your appointment in the morning because pedicure instruments and footbaths are typically cleanest at the beginning of the day.

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