How Can You Prevent A Fungal Nail Infection
Fungal nail infections often come back after treatment. It is important to take steps to prevent this.
- Before bed, wash and dry your feet carefully.
- Wear sandals or roomy shoes made of materials that allow moisture to escape. Let shoes dry for 24 hours before you wear them again.
- Wear socks. Change them if your feet get sweaty.
- Do not share nail files or clippers, socks, towels, or other personal items.
- Wear flip-flops or shower sandals in wet public areas, such as locker rooms or showers.
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What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Toenail Fungus
The most effective toenail fungus treatment for you will largely depend on your symptoms and situation. Your provider will consider several factors before recommending a treatment plan thats customized to you.
Overall, oral antifungal medications may offer the most treatment potential. Pairing oral drugs with topical antifungal medication may make treatment more effective.
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Know Not To Be Afraid
Surgery can be nerve-wracking and scary. Nobody likes pain, hospitals, scalpels, cuts, and anesthesia. The whole idea can be very unpleasanteven reading about it can turn the stomach!
But, it is very important to remember that thousands of people have experienced nail removal and have lived to tell about it! While there may be some discomfort and pain following the procedure, if a qualified doctor or other medical professional has concluded this is the best treatment for your specific problem, let that give all the comfort it should. We are very blessed to live in a world where so many health problems can be easily corrected!
Possible Causes Of Toenail Fungus
First off, how did we get to this point? What might have started with a little yellowing has turned into a full-on fungus. And you really just dont know what to do because youre not certain what caused it in the first place.
The truth of the matter here isit could have been caused by a whole number of thingspoor circulation, diabetes, psoriasis, environmental factors like keeping your feet in water too long or being in a locker room that is hot and humid most of the time, etc. The reason behind your toenail fungus could also be a combination of all these things. A fungal infection can spread and get much worse than it already is. If youre starting to see or feel these symptomsyou might want to consider going to a doctor:
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What Are The Symptoms
A nail with a fungal infection may:
- Turn yellow or white.
- Get thicker.
- Crumble and split, and it may separate from the skin.
When you have a fungal nail infection, it can be uncomfortable or even painful to wear shoes, walk, or stand for a long time. The fungus could also spread to other nails or your skin. Over time, the infection can cause permanent damage to your nail or nail bed.
So What Exactly Is Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is an infection of the toenails, also called onychomycosis . In reality, it can affect both your fingernails and your toenails, though is much more common in toenails.
The fungus can also spread from your nails and nail beds to the skin between your toes. This is called athletes foot, and similarly, toenail fungus can be caused by athletes foot.
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How To Prevent Both Foot And Toenail Fungus
While toenail fungus and foot fungus arent the same condition, the following tips can help you prevent both, says Sundling:
- Practice good hygiene, such as keeping your feet clean.
- Alternate your shoes during the week. Your feet sweat all day long. Alternating your shoes allows them to dry out, so the fungus cant survive.
- Wear moisture-wicking socks that help dry out shoes and kill fungus. You can find these at running stores and athletic stores. If your socks are exceptionally sweaty, changing them more than once per day can help.
- Wear shoes in public places like locker rooms, pools, and gyms to limit exposure to fungus.
Is There A Toenail Fungus Doctor
There isnt any one doctor that specializes in foot fungus. There are, however, doctors that specialize in feet! They are called podiatrists, who have trained to specifically deal with any and all issues regarding your feet.
It is also possible to be sent to a dermatologist, who specializes in skin issues.
You can also go to your general practitioner, but there is a possibility theyll refer you to a specialist anyway. Its also possible you may be referred to an internal medicine specialist, as these are doctors who specialize in adult diseases.
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Living With A Nail Fungal Infection
If you have a nail fungal infection, some things can help:
- Keep your nails cut short and file down any thick areas.
- Dont use the same nail trimmer and file on healthy nails and infected nails. If you have your nails professionally manicured, bring your own nail file and trimmer from home.
- Wear waterproof gloves for wet work . Wear 100% cotton gloves for dry work.
- Wear socks made of wicking material . This pulls moisture away from the skin. Change your socks when they are damp from sweat or if your feet get wet. Put on clean, dry socks every day. Put over-the-counter antifungal foot powder inside your socks to keep your feet dry.
- Wear shoes with good support and a wide toe area. Dont wear pointed shoes that press your toes together.
- Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, such as locker rooms.
If You See A Doctor What Will Your Treatment Be
When you see your toenail fungus doctor, there may be a few treatments they recommend or prescribe some of which are more pleasant than others. It all depends on the kind of fungus you have, as well as how severe your case is.
The doctor may have to take samples, which would be sent off to a lab to determine exactly what kind of fungus you have. So, be prepared for multiple doctor visits.
Your doctor may prescribe oral antifungal drugs or topical antifungal therapies. Sometimes, combining the two types of treatment has more success than one alone.
Oral antifungal drugs are generally taken for six to twelve weeks, but most of the time, you wont see any positive results until the nail has completely grown out.
There are also medicated nail polishes and medicated nail creams that can be prescribed, but the nail polish can take up to a year to deliver results.
In the most severe of cases, surgery to temporarily remove the nail might be recommended. This is so the doctor can treat the fungal infection under the nail directly.
If the infection is severe enough, the doctor might recommend the permanent removal of the nail.
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What Does A Podiatrist Specialize In
A doctor of podiatric medicine is uniquely qualified to treat conditions of the foot and ankle. A podiatrist can further specialize in surgery, pediatrics, geriatrics, sports medicine, and biomechanics. The training to become a podiatrist includes a four-year college degree, four years of podiatry school, and a three-year residency.
Know It Need Not Be Your Only Option
As already mentioned, nail removal is usually a last resort, after other methods have failed to be effective. As such, your doctor is not likely to recommend or even mention nail removal before trying oral and topical medications, ointments, and various other treatments.
Depending on the precise issue, many people have found great success and healing using all kinds of other treatments. Because nail fungus is a very common reason for toenail removal, look at thesedifferentoptions for how to safely and effectively treat toenail fungus.
However, the more severe the case and the longer it has gone without treatment, the more likely your doctor will insist on nail removal as the only possible option.
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Why Choose A Specialist
Direct Training Specialists receive direct training in regard to particular problems. Seeking treatment from a specialist is beneficial especially in those cases that are not easily cured during the initial evaluation.
More Exposure A specialist focusing on patients of a particular subset willencounter certain conditions more often than a general practitioner. This givesthe specialist the advantage of experience and hands-on-knowledge.
Current with Technological Advances A specialist is current on new techniques and technological advances that directly relate to their area of expertise. For example, a podiatrist will likely have exposure to new laser treatments that would not be available at a general practitioner.
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Know It May Have To Be Permanent
At this point, if he or she has not discussed this with you earlier, the doctor may recommend that you have the nail permanently prevented from growing back. This is only done in severe cases of fungus or other disorders where the problem would simply keep occurring if the nail grew back.
To do this, the doctor must destroy the nail matrix, which is the part of the toe that produces keratin, the element that toenails are made of.
The matrix can be dissolved chemically, which is the most common. This is called chemical cauterization, and involves the application of a chemical called phenol. Occasionally, some patients report their nails growing back, but generally this method is effective.
If this does not work, your doctor will perform a surgical matrixectomy. A flap of skin is surgically created at the base of the nail, where the matrix is located. After retracting the flap, the matrix is surgically removed.
Foot Fungus: Causes And Risk Factors
A foot fungus is a fungal infection of the skin, better known as athletes foot, says Sundling. The fungus enters through cracks in the skin. Its known as athletes foot because athletes or anyone who is more active and sweats a lot is more at risk. Kids are also more at risk, because they dont tend to wear different shoes, and changing your shoes is one way to avoid foot fungus.
Foot fungus is very common. It does not mean that someone is dirty or didnt bathe, and if you have a compromised immune system, you may be more susceptible, says Sundling.
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Surgical Toe Fungus Removal Treatment
This is the last resort to treat the toenail fungus condition. The whole nail can be removed or part of it can be removed to allow a healthy growth of the nail. Sometimes the nail might be removed with some skin underneathit depends on the level of infection. This will ensure that the nail that grows back will not be susceptible to infections.
Over the counter remedies bought from your local drug store are not expensive. However, they are not as strong and might not completely clear the fungal infection. If they clear the infection for some time and it comes back, seek an alternative cureby visiting a podiatrist for further treatment.
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Fungal Nail Infection Symptoms
Because the toes and feet are often exposed to damp, warm areas, where the infection is spread, fungal nail infections affect the toes more than the fingers. Your feet are also more likely to be exposed to fungal infections if you:
- Spend time at swimming pools
- Walk around a lot in locker rooms
- Wear the same pair of damp, sweaty sneakers all the time
- Injure your toenail
At first, you may have no outward symptoms. But over time, your nails may:
- Have white spots appear on the surface
- Turn white, yellow, green or brown
- Grow thicker than normal or, in some cases, thinner than normal
- Become brittle, with broken or jagged edges
- Change shape, curling up or down
- Lift off of the nail bed
- Smell bad
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What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Nail Fungus
With treatment, many people can get rid of nail fungus. Even when the fungus clears, your nail may look unhealthy until the infected nail grows out. A fingernail grows out in 4 to 6 months and a toenail in 12 to 18 months.
To clear the fungus, its important to:
Use the treatment exactly as prescribed
Apply the medicine for as long as prescribed
Keep all follow-up appointments with your dermatologist
Nail fungus can be stubborn. If you had a severe infection, its possible to clear the infection. A healthy looking nail, however, may be unrealistic, but you can expect the nail to look better and feel more comfortable.
Even with clearing, nail fungus can return. Youll find steps to reduce your risk in Tips: 12 ways to prevent another nail infection.
ReferenceGold LFS and Rosen T. Onychomycosis: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies. Dermatology News . March 2016:2-15.
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If You Arent Sure Of The Diagnosis
If a podiatrist has never diagnosed you with nail fungus before, you may be incorrectly self-diagnosing your condition. There are many foot and nail conditions that can mimic the abnormalities associated with nail fungus, such as onycholysis, a hematoma under the nail, psoriasis, and paronychia. By scheduling an appointment with a foot and ankle specialist, you can be sure that youre getting the right treatment for your specific condition.
Do You Think I Need To Go To The Doctor For This Ingrown Toenail
Ive had this ingrown toenail for about two weeks now. Usually when I get one, it works itself out after a week or so. This one oozes pus if I squeeze it, which I have had before. The thing that has me wondering if I should go to the doctor is the skin underneath the toe is turning black. And now the skin on the outside of the toe has a small black spot. Ive been soaking it in hydrogen peroxide. I dont want to go to the doctor for something stupid that I can fix at home.
Yes, you should go. This is beyond home remedies IMHO. Toe tuning black = NOT GOOD.
I suggest you go to a podiatrist, ’cause thats what I did when I had a badly ingrown toenail. But then Im old and on Medicare so I can go to any doc, even a specialist.
I dont want to go to the doctor for something stupid that I can fix at home.
I dont understand this statement. Are you afraid the doctor will call you a wimp and make fun of you? Is it the expense?
What you dont EVER want to hear a doctor say is, IF ONLY you had come in sooner. You might already be at that stage.
Anything oozing pus with a black spot is bad. There is infection, and possibly dead tissue. Go to a doctor ASAP to get the infection under control.
No, no, no– no doc is going to say that to a toe that is turning black.
Usually when I get one, it works itself out after a week or so. This one oozes pus if I squeeze it, which I have had before.
You should talk to a podiatrist about permanently removing that corner of nail.
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