Is It Toenail Fungus Or Something Else
Odd-looking toenail? It may be a fungal infection, but there’s a good chance that another condition could be to blame.
If you notice an odd spot on your toenail, you might assume its a fungal infection. However, theres a good chance that its not.
Spots or discolorations on or under a toenail could be bruises resulting from trauma to the nail, blood blisters, warts, or even subungual melanoma, a type of skin cancer, says Ami Sheth, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Los Gatos, California, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Since nail irregularities can be caused by diseases besides these as well, its best to get it looked at, says Dr. Sheth.
Richard Goad, a doctor of podiatric medicine at Baylor Scott & White Health in Waco, Texas, concurs. Sometimes the nail will be the first place to show another underlying problem, Dr. Goad says.
So is it a fungus, a false alarm, or another condition entirely?
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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.
Ridges On The Nails Offer Another Sign Of Infection
If color isnt the first thing you notice, that doesnt mean the nail beds arent affected. Most nails develop ridges on them when an early fungal infection sets in.
The ridges often appear as raised lines and look deep, sometimes even jagged. These can appear on your big toe where theyre the most noticeable but pay attention to each nail bed.
Sometimes a vitamin deficiency or other problem causes issues with ridges developing on your toes. If thats the case and youre unsure, look at other symptoms.
These include how the nail feels in terms of strength, and if you notice a strange smell coming from your nails. While foot smell can happen to anyone, toenails that have a fungus infection smell bad, sometimes almost like rotten cheese.
If your nails smell like this even after youve cleaned your feet, its possible theres an infection brewing.
Seek treatment for your nails so you can put a stop to embarrassing smells and feel confident when you go out. If you catch the toenail fungus early on, this is easy to solve and wont take as long to clear up.
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:
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Both Brittle And Thicker Nails Point To Signs Of Fungus
If youre trying to figure out how to tell if you have toenail fungus, and you dont see obvious signs in relation to color, ridges or smell, check the texture of your nail. This is an obvious sign that somethings wrong, and it gets worse when left untreated.
Brittle nails can start by peeling from the sides, or even get caught on something and snag. Over time, the nail becomes even weaker and can sometimes get ripped off.
In contrast, some people develop thicker nails. If youve had brittle nails that started getting thicker and youre noticing a change in color and other symptoms, seek help right away,
Contrary to popular belief, these nails arent healthy and put you at risk of having an advanced case of toenail fungus thats hard to get rid of. Folks who let their toenail fungus progress find it hard to wear shoes or anything that puts pressure on this part of their feet.
Take notice of weak or overly thick nails once you discover changes. Other causes exist that lead to brittle or thick nails, so its important you find the right solution for your issue.
How Can A Customer Tell If A Salon Is Clean And Fungus
You cant tell just by looking! Nowadays, most salons meet stringent health regulations. There are regulations galore to be licensed, but theres no way for customers to visually assess. You can, however, look at customer reviews online, ask to see the nail salons license or check to see if theyre accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Toenail Fungus
While toenail fungus is common, its usually not harmful. Symptoms mostly affect the look of your toenail.
Toenail fungus may spread to the skin between your toes or other areas of your body. When getting dressed, put your socks on first to reduce the chance of spread.
Treating toenail fungus takes a long time, and it doesnt always work. Even then, toenail fungus often returns. Discuss the pros and cons of treating toenail fungus with your provider to determine whats best for you.
Practicing good hygiene and foot care reduces the chance toenail fungus will come back. If you have diabetes, getting regular foot exams may help you address foot problems before they get serious.
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Why Does It Develop
A fungal nail infection occurs from the overgrowth of fungi in, under, or on the nail. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, so this type of environment can cause them to naturally overpopulate. The same fungi that cause jock itch, athletes foot, and ringworm can cause nail infections.
Fungi that are already present in or on your body can cause nail infections. If you have come in contact with someone else who has a fungal infection, you may have contracted it as well. Fungal infections affect toenails more commonly than fingernails, likely because your toes are usually confined to shoes, where theyre in a warm, moist environment.
If you get a manicure or pedicure at a nail salon, be sure to ask how the staff disinfects their tools and how often they do it. Tools, such as emery boards and nail clippers, can spread fungal infections from person to person if theyre not sanitized.
Can You Really Pick Up Infections Or Nail Fungus At Salons
You can. Anytime your nails are getting wet, cut or filedor your cuticles are being trimmedit is an opportunity for bacteria and fungi to get in under the nail.
Both bacteria and fungi can cause nail infections and are very common in the environment. You can easily pick up a nail fungus, for example, at a swimming pool, from the gym floor, the dirt outside or even from a family member.
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How Can I Prevent Toenail Fungus
Theres no way to guarantee that you wont get toenail fungus. But you can take several steps to help prevent it:
- Avoid going barefoot in communal areas such as hotel rooms / showers, public showers, locker rooms and swimming pools. Most people pick up fungus in these situations. It helps to wear flip flops in these public areas.
- If you have a family member with foot fungus or nail fungus, try to use different shower or wear flip flops in the shower to avoid coming in contact with it.
- Trauma due to accidental or aggressive clipping of the nails can turn into portals of entry for the fungus.
- Clean your nail trimmer before using it.
- Do not tear or rip your toenails on purpose.
- If you have diabetes, follow all foot care recommendations from your healthcare provider.
- Keep your feet dry. Make sure to fully dry your feet after a shower.
- Soak toenails in warm water before cutting them. Or you can cut your nails after a shower or bath.
- Trim toenails straight across .
- Wear shoes that fit correctly. They should not be too loose or tight around the toes.
Nail Fungal Infection Treatment
Prescription medicines can treat a fungal nail infection. Oral antifungal medicines help a new nail grow. This will replace the infected nail. You may need to take antifungal medicine for 6 to 12 weeks. Some oral medicines are not safe for people who have liver problems. They are not safe for people who have a history of congestive heart failure. Tell your doctor if you have one of these conditions. Your doctor will decide which medicine is right for you.
Apply topical treatments to the top of your nail. Topical medicines usually do not cure fungal nail infections.
In severe cases, a doctor might remove the nail completely. It can take several months to a year for the infection to go away.
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1. OPI Gelcolor It should not come as a shock to see OPI on this checklist. OPI other hands to as a premium as well as top an with hydroxyanisole variety of shades and also with cool nail gloss names. Nevertheless, the majority of nail technology experts as well as clients, concur that the high quality is well worth the price. Consumers could locate OPI in nearly every beauty parlor, division or appeal supply shops or perhaps on-line. Although OPI and what does nail fungus from gel nails look like is a collection of gel shades is it really as considerable as their typical collection, OPI ensured to consist of clients faves. OPI is gel items need a UV or LED light for setting, or healing as well as is takes 30 secs to completely dry.
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Is It Possible To Prevent The Recurrence Of Nail Fungus
Tinea pedis, also known as athlete’s foot or foot fungus, can cause recurrence of fungal nails. Therefore, it is important to manage this condition. One can apply over-the-counter antifungal medicines such as clotrimazole or terbinafine cream as directed to affected skin. Keeping footwear and socks clean can be helpful. You can also use portable UV light sanitizers to disinfect shoes.
Fungi Nail When Should I See A Doctor
Only a trained medical professional is qualified to diagnose a nail fungus infection so it is important to visit your doctor if you suspect that you have an infection. Your doctor will take a close look at your nails and if there is any question as to whether or not you have a fungal infection a small tissue sample will be taken from underneath your nail. This sample will then either be scrutinized by the doctor under a microscope, or sent it off to a lab for analysis. A correct diagnosis is very important as it is the first step in the get rid of nail fungus treatment plan.
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What Are The Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is notoriously hard to cure. If over-the-counter fungal treatments have not worked, see your doctor. Treatment will depend on how severe the infection is and the specific type of fungi causing it.
Your doctor may start by trimming your nail, removing debris from under the nail, and scaling away the dead nail layers. Then, treatment may involve the following:
- Topical toenail fungus medication in the form of medicated nail polish or cream you apply to the nail. Some products are for daily use and others are once weekly. Treatment can take up to 18 months and is only suitable for mild infections. Thinning the nail with a file before application may be necessary to help the medicine penetrate the nail. Always sterilize nail tools after use. Topical medicines include amorolfine , ciclopirox , efinaconazole , and tavaborole .
- Oral antifungal drugs you take by mouth include fluconazole , griseofulvin , itraconazole , and terbinafine . These drugs have a higher cure rate and work more quickly than topical products. Treatment generally takes up to 12 weeks. However, they carry a risk of liver toxicity, side effects, and drug interactions. You will need blood tests and frequent monitoring if your doctor prescribes these medications.
- Combination therapy can be more effective than either topical or oral drugs alone.
Tips To Prevent Fungal Nail Infections
Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent a fungal infection of the nails. Taking good care of your nails by keeping them well trimmed and clean is a good way to prevent infections.
Also avoid injuring the skin around your nails. If youre going to have damp or wet hands for an extended amount of time, you may want to wear rubber gloves.
Other ways to prevent fungal infections of the nails include:
- washing your hands after touching infected nails
- drying your feet well after showering, especially between your toes
- getting manicures or pedicures from trustworthy salons
- avoiding being barefoot in public places
- reducing your use of artificial nails and nail polish
Products to help you avoid nail fungus
If youre prone to excessive moisture around your fingernails or toenails, consider buying:
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How Does Toenail Fungus Look Like
According to medical terminology, toenail fungus is the gradual corruption of your nails at the hands of dangerous bacteria. This medical condition is contagious, and you may transfer it to other people or your other toenails and fingernails. It starts with a slight discoloration of the nail bed and a gradual thinning of the edges of your nails. If left untreated, the entire tissue may become black, brittle and detached. The surrounding skin is also affected as it slowly turns worn and flaky.
When Should I See A Bethesda Or Springfield Podiatrist
If you have a condition that compromises your immune system, home treatments and remedies may not be a viable option to begin with, so its important to see a podiatrist right away to avoid complications and minimize risks. For healthy individuals, home treatments may help to get rid of the fungus, but they are never a guarantee.
If you find that you have stubborn toenail fungus that wont go away with home treatments or you need to see a podiatrist because you have diabetes or another condition, Dr. Paul Ross can help! Please dont hesitate to give us a call at .
The Podiatry Centers located in Bethesda, Maryland and Springfield, Virginia treat all medical and surgical foot and ankle conditions. Licensed Podiatrist, Dr. Paul Ross can help bring you foot and ankle pain relief.
Our Bethesda, Maryland and Springfield, Virginia Podiatry offices offer the most effective and state-of-the-art, quality podiatry care services with a smile to patients in our local community, including: Woodbridge VA, Fairfax VA, Annandale VA, Arlington VA, Alexandria VA, Burke VA, Gaithersburg MD, Potomac MD, Silver Spring MD, Rockville MD and Chevy Chase MD.
Return to a pain-free life and get back to the things you love!
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How Should I Treat Nail Fungus
Podiatrists are experts at recognizing toenail fungus, so if you have any concerns about the condition forming they are the best professionals to consult. The best treatment for toenail fungus is the laser treatment, our laser is FDA approved to cure toenail fungus and typically requires only one treatment to be effective. This laser also has no side effects or downtime. Patients may resume regular activity right after the treatment is performed. To schedule a consultation with our nail doctor for the laser treatment in our Dallas, Tx clinic, give us a call at 1- 672-0625.